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Thoughts on Plogging: Mindfulness of Dog Poo, Beer cans and broken wine bottles

KotishkaKotishka Veteran
edited November 2022 in Buddhism Basics

I do not know about your countries / places, but Lanzarote is unfortunately extremely littered by cans, plastics, and other waste. There is little to no consideration nor education regarding our environment. Recycling has begun a bit late, but we are getting there.

From another thread here, I've encountered this term -plogging- to go for a walk and collect rubbish. I've started doing it quite often to clean at least my most immediate surroundings. The results are great, but I still get angry when I see cans the very next day, particularly when I see a pattern: meaning the same person just doing it again and again. In this case, it is a red Dorada beer can (squashed in a particular way and then thrown), a wine bottle (same brand, always thrown at the same places, same route) and dog poop in a plastic bag (with a particular knot and always left on the ground or next to the plants).

I realised how quickly my mind starts snapping: Look! Again! Sons of bitches! How can they do this? In Spanish it sounds a lot angrier and better I have to say: ¡Otra vez estos hijos de puta! ¡Serán subnormales! Suddenly, I realised how I was littering my mind, just like they are...

No point in complaining about them. I want this parcel to be clean for hedgehogs to roam, cats to rest, and humans to enjoy their walks across.

Small acts of kindness as How mentioned can be powerful. These also count when we are kind to our mind and not pollute it with these thoughts.

Just a bit of eco-buddhist engagement! :)



  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited November 2022

    I realised how quickly my mind starts snapping: Look! Again! Sons of bitches! How can they do this?. In Spanish it sounds a lot angrier and better I have to say: ¡Otra vez estos hijos de puta! ¡Serán subnormales! Suddenly, I realised how I was littering my mind, just like they are...

    ¿ah ha?!!!

    Tee Hee. Exactly so. So much teaching from the ignorant, heedless … and ourselves:

    • Impermenance
    • Wrathful skills galore
    • Kindness to our flawed tongue, un-tempered by Manjushris sword …
    • Snapping our mind back into Bodhi mode
      Et cetera, etc, ect …

    I thought plogging was a dance? … and it may just be …

    eventually you will maybe be dancing with …

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    We have a parks service who do this kind of thing…

  • Grip n' grab. I think I will invest in one because picking up all those cans did tire my back. But crazy me thought it would be a good work-out. Though to pick up toilet paper with pee leftovers and plastic with dog poop it might come useful...!

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    A friend of mine invested in an embroidery/tapestry ring. It has as bigger diameter...,.

  • Go on ahead guys, I'm gunna plalk

    Seems someone's dog's making a mess. Cheers to the responsible people picking up after it.

  • Ploggers of the world.... unite!

  • Tested out my kit today while pleandering around the park a few blocks from my house.

    The Deluxe Gopher II sports a lightweight rotatable frame with a reach of just under three feet.
    A lock-and-release hinge allows it to be easily folded up and put in a backpack for transport. Even though the material is fairly thin and feels fragile the plastic and aluminum makes this easy to carry around for long treks. The grabby itself is perfect for half-full beer bottles and lighter rubbish, however I found bags and string and such a bit of a hassle as the grabbing mechanism is not enclosed and these things can get wrapped around in an inconvenient way.

    The carrying apparatus is a modified aluminum butterfly damper with a 7" opening and duct clamp of same diameter. Sturdy yet forgiving, the wide width provides good dispersion of weight while resting on the fingers. The downside is a sharp lip which occasionally tears small holes in the bag.

    A few hours later I'd picked up a few bags, a sense of well-being, and an appetite.
    Safe to say I have a new hobby.

  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Sentient Being Oceania Veteran

    @Kotishka said:
    Ploggers of the world.... unite!

    I must admit, at first I thought you wrote Plonkers of the world unite

    Only Fools & Horses

  • @Shoshin1 said:
    I must admit, at first I thought you wrote Plonkers of the world unite

    Only Fools & Horses

    He was gunna chuck em! One of us. One of us.

  • That was a good hunt @FleaMarket

    It is a great practice as well to test your equanimity. Trust me...when you see the rubbish returning or people openly throwing more rubbish as you clean. I even told a woman if she could kindly pick up her dog's freshly deposited poo. The woman looked in shock and said: "Ah, he is pooing?" And I nodded with a face of "I really need to explain to you how your dog poos?" :skull:

  • So...There is a new plogger around the hood called Gunther. Oh yeah!

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    I find that the routes that I clean upon, slowly end up being littered much less than they formally were.
    It's almost as if, litter encourages more littering behavior, the way if one person pulls out their cell phone for a gander, those in close vicinity often follow suite, or how one yawner in a group elicits the yawns of their fellows. Now I even see others cleaning up on my routes in-between my ploggings.
    One commercial market that supplied a lot of take-out food and used to be a perpetual dumping zone for cast-off food containers, after 10 or 15 of my plogging passes, now sends out some of its employees at the end of the day on litter patrol.
    I think it encourages folks to see the connectedness of a shared space within life's terrarium, rather than as isolated entities of a me-first mentality.

  • Neighbors leave trash in my yard on an almost daily basis as well, @Kotishka and it is not uncommon for me to see out the window someone walking their dogs letting them relieve themselves on the front lawn. Similar to your shocked woman, they likely don't see or care what they do beyond the pooing. A test of what I'm learning applied in the real world indeed. They don't know I enjoy their presence even when I do let them under my skin. Also that I like a good treasure hunt.

    The local park is host of all manner of parties and picnic tables, though large debris is hard to come by since the park rangers and guests themselves do such a good job cleaning up. I don't mind them taking the big prizes for themselves. An endless supply of dirt-laden bottle caps and celebratory reflective confetti keeps me busy and the forest is quite crisp and beautiful this time of year.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    In Vancouver where I used to live, dog walkers sometimes could be seen studiously stooping and dabbing at the ground with a doggy bag beside their dogs poop, so it looked like they were cleaning it up, but were really just ghosting it while not being left with the task of actually having to carry it away. Fortunately, here in Victoria, that trick has not yet caught on.

    You know, the Canadian koan of endlessly apologizing for breathing and wanting to be liked by everyone.

    Not much different, I suppose, from watching my Mom, kick her dogs poop under some nearby bush while muttering that it was all about as organic as it could get, as she walked on.

  • KotishkaKotishka Veteran
    edited December 2022

    The routes and field I'm cleaning are looking better than ever. I calculate from my daily walks that around 1-2 cans / bottles are dropped per day, but quite happily, there are some days that it goes down to 0.

    Really happy that Germany, England and Spain were kicked out of the World Cup because that meant less alcohol, thus less rubbish. And even less people at the hospital.

    The challenge now is probably to start my plogging route to the beach that lies 5 minutes away from my house. Let's see what I encounter..

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    I tend to leave the recyclable bottles and cans alone for at least a week for those who augment their own income by collecting and returning such items. I'm also learning to spot and avoid bits of residential surveyor tape on the street to save me from uselessly fighting with that which is often screwed into the ground.
    I find the most persistently littered locations are leading to and from local high & middle schools or any parking lots near any lunchtime food stores but even these spots are requiring an ever-reducing amount of the clean-up time than they did a couple of months ago.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Your good example nearly inspires me to take up the practice. But the local parks service does such a good job, I almost never see any litter.

  • In Spain we do not have this incentive, but it would be great as I know certain people collect broken furniture and electrodomestics, gathering scrap metal to sell basically. They would become of great further assistance..! But meanwhile, I will be the collector. I like how the streets are looking and the littering spots are slowly reducing their size.

    Like you mentioned, littering invites for more litter. Less littering, invites for less litter.

    Also, it is a great warm-up on my way to the gym. So bring it on!

  • @how said:
    I'm also learning to spot and avoid bits of residential surveyor tape on the street to save me from uselessly fighting with that which is often screwed into the ground.

    It's the hill-side netting to prevent erosion that keeps getting me. I see a bit sticking out of the dirt, give it a tug, nope.
    Haven't been out much lately as it's pretty wet and muddy. Don't really want to go to higher traffic areas as the quieter hikes provide a lot of peace walking around a marketplace likely wouldn't. Maybe I'll have to break out of my comfort zone and step up the equanimity practice.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    I’ve dreamt of your plogging equipment…

  • How are your aloe doing @Kotishka? I had you in mind the other day and plogged to the market. I'm convinced carrying around trash grabbers and a trash bag, no one will ever bother you unless it's to say thanks.

  • @FleaMarket

    I'm actually really busy with my studies (finals in 3 weeks and a half). BUT! Fortunately, elections are close (28th of May), so the local government is making sure everything is pristine clean :) They are even hanging signs saying how much they care about the environment.

    My plogging will have to wait till june, when I can guarantee you that the public cleaning will cease for another 4 years.

    How is your journey going on? :)

  • Crunch time. From the sound of it you take studies very seriously which is a good sign for success. The journey's accompanied by plogging equipment, thanks for asking. :grin:

  • Bravo brave plogs ♥️✊🫶

    Next doors kitten cat has taken up plogging. She removed a feather, possibly a hawks, I had plogged and planted in a garden urn. Off kitty went with her prize feather, probably to impress her mummy with her hunting prowess …

    I have also recently discovered ravens are anti-ploggers, tearing black bin bags open and blaming the scattering on urban foxes …🙀

  • The aloes I planted were ripped as they were considered "littering". Though the rubbish remains........

    Talking about equanimity... Grr!

  • Today while walking I found myself looking if there was any rubbish on the street needing to be picked up. I did not see any, but I did not look for very long. Maybe I'll join in (let's see what happens)! :)<3

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2023

    @Kotishka said:
    The aloes I planted were ripped as they were considered "littering". Though the rubbish remains........

    Talking about equanimity... Grr!

    I've watched our local municipalities slowly move ( or offload) our boulevards from the local city's responsibility to being the adjacent homeowner's responsibility. This has cost them a certain amount of political and property control but has provided a much-needed lowering of their overall maintenance costs.
    The result though has meant a flourishing of guerrilla gardening of floral and veggie plantings from folks' property lines to the street. The only current stipulation about it is those plantings must not impede people's right to have an obstruction-free sidewalk.
    This picture is my neighbor's boulevard from the edge of the road to her sidewalk directly across the street from my place.

  • KotishkaKotishka Veteran
    edited June 2023


    Same situation here. The area was unkept and had been abandoned for at least 4-5years so I thought there would be no problem if I put a few aloe veras, which by the way are well-known local plants here and quite good because they require little water.

    To my surprise, the local government's cleaning company thought that, rather than cleaning up the rubbish and mountains of plastic bottles existing throughout Costa Teguise, they preferred to start with the aloe veras here.

    I spoke to the local worker doing this and he told me that he was quite unhappy with this job, but his boss ordered him to do so without giving him any real reason.

    Dogen came to my mind: "A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it." In this case... "Aloes veras are ripped, even though we love them; and plastic waste grows, even though we do not love it."

    This is how it looks now.

    Edit: That is a beautiful neighbourhood. I really miss the greenery :)

  • Today I found out who is the citizen that is just leaving bags full of dog poo around. A woman in her 50s with two middle size dogs. I suspected it was her, but today I managed to obtain good evidence and a confession. I literally saw her commiting the deed, approached her and told her she had "forgotten" her black waste bag. She proceeded to tell me it was not her problem: the townhall should have put more bins around for her. Funny enough this ocurred 10 metres away from one....

    Curious how people become really defensive and avoid admitting their wrong-doings, even if they have been recorded and there is plenty of evidence. She even said that she leaves them there "temporarily" to afterwards clean them up. Yeah...makes no sense. When I told her I was the one cleaning them up she was shocked, as if she knew her lies would not work. She was really rude and told me she would continue and she does not care what I do or say.

    I dislike being confrontational, however, this required action. The president of our residential block has taken the video as evidence and will be proceeding to put a civil demand for her misdoings: she is facing a 750 euros fine minimum.

    My only lesson is: when doing wrong and confronted, face up to it. It is your chance to renew yourself. Saigo Takamori once said: "Before being able to be born again, you need to throw yourself to the rubbish". Something like that...


    Pd: No laws were broken. Recording citizens on a public street is legal as long as you are respectful.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    I marvel at you resisting the urge to...

    Follow her discreetly at a distance to see if she has a residential roof where those shit bags can find a final place of teaching rest.

  • KotishkaKotishka Veteran
    edited August 2023


    I'm surprised that you thought of the same master plan as I :lol:

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