Under the clear blue sky with the shining sun out, over 3,000 volunteers added fragrance to the natural beauty of the Arabian Sea’s astonishing panorama. The morning of ‘International Coastal Cleanup Day’ witnessed the enthusiasm of people, their oneness towards environmental cleaning, and the firmness to live pollution-free, all of which brought about a major change in the Versova Juhu beach cleanup organized on Saturday.
Students, in a large number (over 4000), from numerous schools and colleges in Mumbai gathered at Versova. There were 27 different groups of people contributing to making the beach beautiful and clean.
Celebrities were not far behind in making their dues to the clean Versova campaign. Terrence Lewis with his team of 70 dancers was seen picking up the litters. Dum Laga Ke Haisha actress Bhumi Padnekar, while talking to media during her beach cleaning participation, said, “This is the most gratifying thing that I have done in the life.” She was also clearing up plastics from the beach with Afroz Shah, an advocate and UN Earth champion.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) led an example in cleaning up the Versova beach. About 300 police forces from CRPF, led by inspector general Rajkumar and V.S. Shiji, were present on the beach picking up plastics and other non-degradable litters. Mr. Vishwas Mote, a BMC officer, led a team of staff and was seen extremely keen on bringing about this environmental change.
Students from a number of educational institutes such as C P Goenka International School, Borivli, Ryan International School, Malad, Dhirubhai Ambani School, Veer Bhadat Singh School, National College, Hiranandani Foundation School, KES College, etc, enthusiastically participated in the cleanup drive. For Adya Kaul, a Ryan International student, seeing the huge pile of plastic thrash pulled from under the sand by students was the happiest moment. She said that if we humans stop polluting the environment and more and more people come forward to protect nature, the problem will eventually be solved- A thought supported by many!
Advocate Afroz Shah witnesses the transition of a single beach cleanliness drive that started on 2nd October 2015 into a movement that people are caring about. A believer of action at the ground level, Mr. Shah is of the opinion that it has attracted a huge number of young and elder members of the society and they are adamant to focus on the cause.
On 21st September, two international research teams from INTCATCH and Pathways, who are working to make people aware of how pollution sources are polluting rivers and beaches, were also a part of the beach cleanup drive. With the help of locals, Mr. Shah has also been studying the same phenomenon.
“It was amazing to see over 3,000 people (including students) come together to restore the beach into a better condition. It was an amazing effort and is incredibly motivating to see how much people care for their environment. We hope to be able to work with the community in the future so that one day the beach cleansing won’t be needed,” said the highly optimistic Pathways member John Bryden, who was accompanied by J Person of National Environment Research Council in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Bryden added, “What we would like to do now is to quantify the pollution through the use of citizen science technique, Litter monitoring as well as Pollution surveys to increase the understanding of the sources of pollution. The data can then be used for effective solutions.”
Pathways have contributed to tackling the problem of pollution in the Thames River in London. They have created wetlands for keeping a check on pollution and storing flood waters as well.