In Pics: Mumbai’s Versova Beach Sparkles After Mass Cleanup Drive
Then vs Now: The transformation of Versova Beach. (Picture courtesy: Twitter/ @AfrozShah1)
Then vs Now: The transformation of Versova Beach. (Picture courtesy: Twitter/ @AfrozShah1)

In Pics: Mumbai’s Versova Beach Sparkles After Mass Cleanup Drive

As Indians, we’ve become accustomed to seeing our beaches littered with filth. But Mumbai’s Versova beach stands out as an exception and tells the tale of one passionate Mumbaikar, backed by an environmentally conscious community.

Today, Mumbai based lawyer Afroz Shah, has succeeded in his 85 week long initiative which focused on removing 5 million kilograms worth of hazardous waste and plastic trash from the 2.7 kilometre stretch of the Versova Rock beach, cleaning it up completely.

His project has resulted in the largest beach clean-up in the world, for which he was honoured with the United Nation’s Champions of the Earth award. He was aided by the UN (Lewis Pugh, the UN Patron of the Oceans assisted him), BMC and nearly 300 volunteers every weekend, who worked tirelessly to produce the Goa-like effect we see on Versova beach today.

The above tweet shot Shah to fame and generated 6,000 retweets within 24 hours, along with a total of over 5.7 lakh views across the globe. This was no easy task and the pictures below are proof of all the effort it took for this massive achievement.

The beginning of Shah’s venture in July 2015. (Photo courtesy: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pg/cleanupversovarockbeach/photos/?tab=album&amp;album_id=1531248370515547">Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach</a>)
The beginning of Shah’s venture in July 2015. (Photo courtesy: Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach)

With their inspiring grit and determination, Afroz Shah and team toiled hard to make their dream a reality, despite the scorching heat, bad weather, trash embedded deep into the sand and the possible health hazards of this intervention.

The BMC lends a hand in cleaning up the beach. (Photo courtesy: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pg/cleanupversovarockbeach/photos/?tab=album&amp;album_id=1531248370515547">Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach</a>)
The BMC lends a hand in cleaning up the beach. (Photo courtesy: Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach)
Spreading the word to gather as many volunteers as possible for World Environment Day. (Photo courtesy: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pg/cleanupversovarockbeach/photos/?tab=album&amp;album_id=1531248370515547">Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach</a>)
Spreading the word to gather as many volunteers as possible for World Environment Day. (Photo courtesy: Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach)
A seemingly Herculean task, made possible. (Photo courtesy: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pg/cleanupversovarockbeach/photos/?tab=album&amp;album_id=1531248370515547">Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach</a>)
A seemingly Herculean task, made possible. (Photo courtesy: Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach)
Cranes were used for picking up the trash and taking it to a disposal ground. (Photo courtesy: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pg/cleanupversovarockbeach/photos/?tab=album&amp;album_id=1495862117387506">Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach</a>)
Cranes were used for picking up the trash and taking it to a disposal ground. (Photo courtesy: Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach)
Various community members helped out, including police officers. (Photo courtesy: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/cleanupversovarockbeach/">Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach</a>)
Various community members helped out, including police officers. (Photo courtesy: Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach)
The team got all the help they could. (Photo courtesy: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/cleanupversovarockbeach/">Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach</a>)
The team got all the help they could. (Photo courtesy: Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach)
Afroz’s endeavour found support in various forms. (Photo courtesy: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/cleanupversovarockbeach/">Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach</a>)
Afroz’s endeavour found support in various forms. (Photo courtesy: Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach)
Actor Pooja Bedi contributed to the cause as well. (Photo courtesy: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/cleanupversovarockbeach/">Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach</a>)
Actor Pooja Bedi contributed to the cause as well. (Photo courtesy: Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach)
After almost two years of tireless work, finally, results show in May 2017. (Photo courtesy: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/cleanupversovarockbeach/">Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach</a>)
After almost two years of tireless work, finally, results show in May 2017. (Photo courtesy: Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach)

This is what the Versova beach looked like before and after Afroz Shah’s mission, and this change is nothing less than a miracle.

The end result meets Afroz’s vision of a cleaner, healthier Mumbai. (Photo courtesy: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/cleanupversovarockbeach/">Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach</a>)
The end result meets Afroz’s vision of a cleaner, healthier Mumbai. (Photo courtesy: Facebook/ Cleanupversovarockbeach)

Earth 5R’s documentation of this clean up drive and HRG Rennies Travel’s documentary on Lewis Pugh’s contribution shed more light on this movement and its growth:

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