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