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Madison man helps clean up the streets while jogging

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 10:52 PM CDT
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MADISON, Miss. (WLBT) - A community improvement organization, Keep America Beautiful, found there’s an estimated 50 billion pieces of litter on the ground in the U.S.

One Madison man is doing his part to help reduce that.

Mark Davis typically jogs 3-4 times per week and never goes without bringing a plastic bag with him to pick up trash. Collecting litter while jogging is called “plogging.” It’s a relatively new phenomenon to some, but Davis has been doing it for over a decade.

“It doesn’t slow down my run at all,” Davis said. “It’s no extra time or problem for me to just bend over and pick up what you run by - that’s all it takes.”

He said it started out with him just picking up bottles on the side of the road. Then, one day, he found a plastic bag on the side of the road and was able to put all the bottles inside of it. From that point on, he began doing it consistently.

Miriam Ethridge is the chair of Keep Madison the City Beautiful which is affiliated with Keep America Beautiful. She said she passed Davis picking up litter on his jogs as she drove to work almost every day for over a year. One day, she said she couldn’t help but stop and introduce herself.

“I’ll dub him a community champion because anybody that does it on their own without being asked... it’s just amazing,” Ethridge said.

According to Keep America Beautiful, 90% of Americans agree litter is an issue in their community. However, not everyone does something about it.

“Litter is a big problem with me,” Ethridge said. “If everybody would just think about just picking up in your neighborhood and on your street, it would just make things so much better.”

She said if it weren’t for people like Davis, Madison Avenue wouldn’t be nearly as clean.

“The school needs to look nice, and if I can do my part, that’s fine,” Davis said.

Davis said at the start of the pandemic, he stopped picking up litter for a few weeks. Once he saw it building up, he couldn’t help but start doing it again.

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