24-05-2017 08:00 AM | MIND Correspondent | My Indian Dream
What started as just a clean up at Versova beach by Afroz Shah took the shape of a huge movement setting an example for many people in abroad too.
Here’s a good news for the residents of Versova as now they have received a serene beach that boasts of utter cleanliness. All thanks to Mumbai lawyer Afroz Shah and his neighbor Harbansh Mathur.
Looking at the apathy that the Versova beach is facing with dirt everywhere this duo cleanliness enthusiast started cleaning the beach in October 2015. 2.5 kilometer of stretch included litter like plastic bottles, bags, pieces of clothes, snacks bags among others. The duo was able to remove almost 50,000 kg of trash in their first clean up round.
Looking at their hard work and dedication to clean the beach, 40 more Versova residents joined their hands and began a weekly clean-up and by now they were able to remove almost 1,75,000 kg trash from the beach. The positive thing about this campaign is the civic body too provided amenities such as clean-up marshals, garbage trucks and excavator machines. Slowly this campaign took a face movement wherein they were able to remove 500,000 kg trash. They started with a Versova Residents’ Volunteers (VRV) group and soon it had 300 members. As per the report published in Hindustan Times Shah said, “It was fascinating to see people from the film industry, police personnel, lawyers, fishermen and even different communities come together for one cause.” By then the group was successful to remove trash of 800,000 kg trash. This movement was so successful that The United Nations Environment Program called it the “world’s largest beach clean-up in history”. Later on, the Maharashtra Maritime Board too joined the VRV. The United Nations patrons of the Ocean Lewis Pugh came down from Kenya and also joined the movement. The group also cleaned the beach after Ganeshotsav which resulted in the removal of 88,000 kg of only idol parts and trash. Later Shah also involved the fisher community and explaining them the damage because of litter. The group cleaned the coastline litter-choked mangrove. We all know how mangroves help to defend naturally the storm surges. With this small clean-up drive that took a form of movement Shah was awarded UN’s Top Environmental Accolade, Champions of the earth Award at Mexico. Taking a cue from them other International beaches have also started cleaning up their beaches in the same way. With these efforts now Versova beach is cleaner after 5.3 million kg trash was removed.
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