In keeping with the global drive to clean up beaches and coasts, around 3000 school and college students, together with NGOs, joined hands with the Indian Coast Guard to clean up the Juhu beach, Girgaum and Dadar Chowpatty on Saturday morning.
In the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) drive for which Hindustan Times was the media partner, students were also informed about the hazards of marine pollution. "Children are our main targets because they can insist their parents to keep the beaches and surroundings neat," said A Rajasekhar, Commander Coast Guard region (West).
The ICC drive was taken up in the rest of India on September 18 except for Mumbai, which was on high monsoon alert then.
During the process of cleaning up, samples of the litter are also collected and analysed. Cigarette filters, food wrappers and plastic bottles, thermocols and fishing lines are the main agents causing marine pollution and people need to know that they should stop throwing them in the beaches, added Rajasekhar.
The Indian Coast Guard has been spearheading the ICC for the last five years all over the country. Incidentally, Rajasekhar added that with every passing day the awareness among people about conserving the environment was undoubtedly growing.
"When we started with the project the beaches were very filthy but we must admit that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is doing a great job in keeping them clean," he added.
The awareness part was clearly visible among the schoolchildren. Said 13-year–old Santosh Navekar of Byculla Municipal School, "Dirty beaches contaminate the water and that pollutes the aqua lives as well". He insisted that more than anybody the fishing community needed to be informed about ways to keep the sea clean.
The ICC began in 1986 in an attempt to dispose of garbage along the Texas coast. It all started when a girl walking on a beach in Texas, US saw a large amount of garbage littered around and started cleaning them up. Other people on the beach followed her and in about 3 hours time about 124 tons of trash was picked up.