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Joining a Trash Running in Chongqing| James' Vlog

By James Alexander, Deng ZhangICHONGQING|Jun 17,2022

Chongqing– A new fitness craze has taken hold among environmentally conscious locals and expatriates known as “trash running,” where enthusiasts run along set routes across Chongqing, Southwest China, and collect rubbish they find discarded on the ground.

During her outdoor jogging sessions, Katalina Sogor first came to live in Shanghai twelve years ago and noticed a considerable amount of rubbish discarded in the local environment. This observation and a desire to clean up these areas drove her to organize the first trash running activity.

In the years since trash running has grown into a communal event in multiple cities among both expatriates and local people. Later in 2021, Katalina moved to Chongqing, where she has since introduced the popular activity and proactively increased environmental protection awareness.

While the process of the green revolution in Chongqing has achieved success through in the form of park landscapes, clean watersides, fresh air, and urban beautification, greater awareness of the importance of environmental protection needs to be fostered in the hearts of everyday citizens.

China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of tobacco, with over 300 million smokers, accounting for one-third of the global market. In addition, around two-thirds of the 15 billion cigarettes sold daily are discarded in the environment, and cigarette ends make up between 30-40% of all waste collected by urban sanitation workers.

Trash Running

Trash running has become a popular twice-weekly event in Chongqing amongst expatriates and the local community (Photo/official Trash Running mini-application)

Smokers generally believe that cigarette butts degrade swiftly and don’t consider them harmful. In actuality, the plastics used in making cigarette ends can take over a decade to break down once discarded.

Moreover, filters used in cigarettes are mainly composed of microplastics known as cellulose acetate fibers, which can release heavy metals and toxic chemicals on exposure to sunlight and moisture, which in turn cause damage to ecosystems.

Trash Running

Discarded cigarette butts are the most common item of rubbish found during trash runs and are highly damaging to the environment and health of ecosystems (Photo/official Trash Running mini-application)

Wildlife, including birds, fish, mammals, plants, and reptiles, can bio-accumulate these microplastics, eventually reaching the human food chain and creating serious health concerns for the public.

In this vlog post themed on the green revolution, iChongqing reporter James Alexander meets Katalina to experience a midweek trash running event alongside the Jialing River. He sees firsthand how this popular trend has involved both locals and expatriates, as they combine their passion for running with concern for the environment.

(Huang Jiaxuan, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)

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