My Report: Citizens, Not Hospitals, Making Dadar Beach Toxic

Due to the clean-up drive, we can tell it’s the citizens that are responsible for the toxic waste on Dadar beach.

My Report
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Over the past 10 months, we have been noticing an excessive amount of toxic waste, including medical waste, which has been dumped on Mumbai’s Dadar beach.

My team and I, “The Beach Warriors”, started a clean-up drive for the beach about 10 months ago, and so far, we’ve managed to extract about 300-350 tonnes of waste. As a result, there has definitely been a marked difference in the way it now looks, but there is still a long, long way to go.

The main toxic waste items that we have found over the past 10 months, are used syringes, broken medical bottles, used sanitary napkins, unopened and expired tablet packets, as well as condoms.

These are really harmful to anyone who walks on the beach, because even a second’s worth of contact with these items, could lead to the growth of some wide-ranging diseases.


What Do the Authorities Have to Say?

We have complained to the relevant authorities on multiple occasions – the Birbhum Municipal Corporation (BMC), the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and of course, the Dadar police.

For their part, the BMC is doing what it can to help remove the toxic waste from Dadar beach. A team of BMC workers visit the beach at about 7 am and work until the evening, to remove even 5-6 tonnes of toxic waste, on a daily basis. But they need more help.

When we ask people to not litter on the beach as we’re cleaning, some just turn around and tell us that it is our job to clean up the waste. Others just ignore us and throw waste on the beach in front of us.
Venkatesh, BMC worker 

I am also in constant contact with Hemangi Worlikar, the Deputy Mayor of the MCGM.

I’m happy to say that she is always prompt in her response and upon her directive, several officials have even visited the beach and assessed the situation.

However, they feel, and so do we, that this toxic waste – especially the medical waste –is not coming from hospitals or factories. It is coming from the citizens of Mumbai, who do not realise that they are destroying the city’s beaches. 

What we essentially need is a surveillance booth at the entrance of the beach, so that both the police, and people like us who want to help, can take charge of the situation.

What Do the Citizens Have to Say?

To get a clearer idea of what the citizens of Mumbai feel about the beach, and what they would want to do to help change its terrible condition, I approached a college student, Swaroop, who often comes and helps out in our clean up drive.

This is what he had to say:

When I visited the beach, I saw that the condition was upsetting. I made up my mind to do something, something for the society. On the very first day of the clean-up drive, I got a kind of satisfaction that I had never gotten before. Then I decided that I would come every single week, because I am a citizen of Mumbai and it is my responsibility.
Swaroop, college student and beach clean-up volunteer

It is heartening to see a response such as this, because even after ten months of cleaning the beach, it is still so disheartening to see its terrible condition, and the citizens, the ones who are throwing the waste without a second’s thought, not do their bit to protect the environment.

But we cannot stop, we have to save our environment. We have to do our bit for the society. We have two hands to do wonders. So we can definitely do it.

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