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在沪法国人的绿色爱好 - 2021年03月19日

Jogging and litter cleanup: a Frenchman successfully combines both

The arrival of cold air doesn’t cast a chill over Soulfiane Khellaf’s “plogging” campaign.
As darkness falls and the urban hustle-bustle dulls, the local boulangerie where Khellaf works is still a lively scene.
Basking in the site’s warm glow and tantalizing aromas, people come in and greet Khellaf as an old friend. The clock strikes 7:15pm, and a shout goes up: Hooray!
Khellaf then leads nine people out into the evening for the weekly plogging — a combination of jogging and picking up trash along the way.
He has designed a shorter running route on this chilly evening because he doesn’t want to discourage their team spirit.
“Usually, we run between 5 to 7 kilometers,” he tells Shanghai Daily. “But today it is a 4.5-kilometer run. Every week we do different routes, so people won’t get bored.”
They run down Huashan, Pingwu, Xingfu and Fahuazhen roads. Inhaling the night air and crunching leaves underfoot, they pick up litter along their way.
“I love this area,” Khellaf says. “It’s pretty cool and quiet. The roads are small, with fewer cars and bikes. When you have a group of runners, safety is the priority.”
One of his runners agrees.
“I love it,” says 25-year-old designer Shu Shu. “I love sports but I don’t like to do sports alone. Running with others gets me motivated, and plogging is a new fitness trend. Khellaf plots different routes every week, allowing me to discover different aspects of Shanghai.”
Khellaf, who was born and raised in Paris, works as head of business development for Luneurs, a popular Parisian-style bakery chain.
Khellaf initiated the idea of building a “Luneurs community” of staff, customers, friends and neighbors to get together for some fun and meaningful volunteer work.
He says he loves jogging and believes in an eco-friendly lifestyle. Plogging is an excellent way to combine both.
Last September, he initiated the first plogging event. Unexpectedly, the idea caught on quickly.
“It just happened naturally,” Khellaf says. “Work colleagues and customers wanted to join in the effort. The idea just snowballed.”
It’s now going strong after about six months.
“We plog every week,” he says. “We cancel an outing only when it’s raining or when it’s super cold. On chilly evenings, we get about 10 people; when it’s warm, we might have 20 to 25.”
He says he is leery about trying to expand the concept too much.
“I don’t want to make it a big event,” he says. “As you grow bigger, sometimes you just lose direction. I don’t want to lose the purpose. We do it for fun. That’s the most important thing. We want to do something meaningful, but we don’t want it to become a burden.”
He adds, “I think everything starts with a small step. Maybe some people just join us for the run or out of environmental concerns. It becomes a habit. Maybe the next day, they will pick up litter apart from our weekly runs. Those are the small steps.”
Khellaf says he is considering other eco-friendly activities.
“We won’t try anything too formal,” he says. “Instead, we will try to keep activities simple and accessible for everyone, just like plogging.”
Khellaf came to Shanghai four years ago. His reasons were a bit complicated, but they basically boiled down to wanting a new life experience.
“The first time I came to China was for study,” he says. “I had done business school in France, and I joined an exchange program to China. I went to Suzhou for one semester. That’s how I discovered China.”
In Shanghai, he is particularly fond of the former French concession area. He says designing different running routes in the area has been a good way for him to learn more about Shanghai.
“I live not far away,” he says. “I used to live in an old building, but recently I moved to a relatively new one. I feel like this area is my backyard garden.”
He adds, “For me, this area is unique in the world. I have traveled a bit, mostly in Asia. But finding this area with its European architecture 10,000 kilometers away from Europe is crazy.”
He says the charm lies in its authenticity. People living in the area are locals. Some have lived there for generations. The plane trees that line streets are common in France.
“The trees remind me a little bit of home,” he says.
Back in his home in suburban Paris, every one learns garbage collection and recycling in childhood, he says. Shanghai has been a bit of a latecomer in the practice. The city began serious garbage-sorting efforts in July 2019.
“I think people are embracing it,” he says. “Yes, it’s mandatory, but I think most people believe that it’s meaningful. It’s a matter of education and adopting new habits. In the beginning, it seems a bit complicated, but after a while, it becomes second nature. You don’t think about it; you just do it.”
According to Khellaf, Shanghai is much cleaner than Paris.
“Actually, we don’t find a lot of litter on the streets,” he says of his plogging group. “Shanghai has very clean streets. It has a good image.”
Currently, Luneurs is working on a food bank project to provide leftover products to needy families. Details haven’t been revealed yet.
 

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