Tired of having the beautiful ocean view spoiled by piles of trash on Versova beach, hundreds of Mumbaiites decided to put an end to their ordeal.
In a heartening development, over 500 residents, Bollywood celebrities, BMC labourers and UN officials, including Eric Solheim, Chief of United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) and Lewis Pugh, a world-class swimmer, a maritime lawyer and a global advocate for cleaner oceans, gathered to manually remove over 2.84 lakh kilograms of trash, taking the weekend tally to 6.14 lakh kilograms, removed from one end of the beach. from the 2.5-km long beach, successfully making it the biggest beach clean up in history.
"Every inch of the beach was covered in litter when we began. We picked up 673 shoes within a radius of just 10 metres. By the end of it, everyone came together with one mission, to protect our environment and make history" Lewis Pugh informed Hindustan Times.
This drive was also supported by the students from the Whistling Woods International Film and Television Institute, lawyers from the Andheri Bar Association, members of the Koli Samaj (local fishing community) and representatives of the All India Plastic Manufacturers Association.
The drive is in its 43rd week and was started by a local resident, lawyer Afroz Shah last year.
“After seeing the trash on the beach, I decided to carry out the clean up drive on weekends,” said Shah.
His initiative was well received. “People kept joining the initiative,” he added. “This is Week no 43 for the clean-up activity, and the volunteers are determined to continue it for much longer,” he added.
Not all heroes wear capes and the change brought by these volunteers tells the success story of an important battle concerning the environment.