In pics: 85 weeks later, 5.3 million kg trash lighter, this is what Versova beach looks like now | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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In pics: 85 weeks later, 5.3 million kg trash lighter, this is what Versova beach looks like now

Mumbai city news: Government officials, UN officials and Mumbaiites congratulated the 33-year-old lawyer who initiated the clean-up last year

mumbai Updated: Jun 05, 2017 10:07 IST
Badri Chatterjee
What the beach looks like after 85 weeks of intense cleaning.
What the beach looks like after 85 weeks of intense cleaning.(HT Photo)

Eighty-five weeks later and 5.3 million kg of trash lighter, Versova beach is now pristine. As many as 150 people participated in the world’s largest beach clean-up and cleared more than 16,000 kg of trash over the weekend.

Versova residents volunteers (VRV) group celebrated their 85th week of the initiative, with leader Afroz Shah taking to social media to post a photograph of the clean beach. 

Government officials, officials from the United Nations and Mumbaiites congratulated the 33-year-old lawyer who initiated the clean-up in October 2015.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) had awarded Shah the UN’s top environmental accolade — Champions of the Earth award — at Cancun, Mexico, making him the first Indian to achieve such a feat.

Versova resident Afroz Shah, who spearheaded the initiative in 2015. (HT Photo)

“The entire beach is finally clean and our efforts have borne fruit. The trash that is washing ashore is now only coming from the sea. We have asked the civic body to start cleaning the creeks before the monsoon so the beach remains tidy,” said Shah.

What the beach was like before. (HT Photo)

Each year, people around the world produce nearly 300 million tons of plastic just as much plastic waste. Of that,13 million tons finds its way into our oceans. This is equivalent to dumping two garbage trucks of plastic into the ocean every minute.

The plastic wreaks havoc on our fisheries, marine ecosystems and economies, costing up to $13 billion a year in environmental damage.

Members of the Versova residents volunteer groups lending a hand to make the beach garbage-free. (HT Photo)

VRV along with local residents and fishermen also travelled to the creeks in fishing boats over the past three months and cleaned up the garbage there.

Following Shah’s and VRV’s efforts, UNEP started the international Clean Seas campaign launched in February at Indonesia. UNEP head Erik Solheim said the clean-up was inspired by efforts in Mumbai. Since then, South Africa, a few beaches in North Africa, Yemen and Southeast Asia have started cleaning their beaches to reduce marine litter.