An Indian environmentalist, Vivek Gurav, helping to clean up UK streets has been given a special award by the UK Prime Minister. Vivek has been plogging – that’s jogging while picking up litter – in the UK since he came to the University of Bristol on a scholarship in September 2021.
The master’s student had been behind a plogging craze in his home city of Pune, west India, which had seen hundreds of volunteers pick up 1,000 tonnes (and counting) of rubbish.
After joining the University he started ‘Bristol Ploggers’, a 140-strong volunteer group that has picked up 3,750kg of litter from all over the city. Twelve nationalities are involved in the group and they have covered 400 miles of streets.
Now he has won a Points of Light award, which the UK Prime Minister gives to “inspirational volunteers” who are “making a change in their community”.
Vivek said: “Finding out I’d won the award was a real goosebumps moment; I was really surprised!
“For me, it’s a real honour and a verification that things like plogging need to be done, both in India and the UK. I hope this award will really support and amplify our cause.
After finishing his Environmental Policy and Management MSc, Vivek plans to stay in the UK. He hopes to gain more knowledge and experience in the sustainability sector so he can take that know-how to India.
Vivek was able to study in the UK thanks to a University of Bristol Think Big Scholarship. He chose the University of Bristol because of its Cabot Institute for the Environment, a world-leading environmental research hub.