Braving their Sunday morning languor and the winter chill, more than 40 cyclists rode from Bandra to Lower Parel and cleaned up the area around Shivaji Park on Sunday.
The initiative was the second event in HT’s Clean My Mumbai campaign, in which it has collaborated with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The campaign, which began on Saturday, aims to start and sustain a citizens’ movement to clean up the city over the next few months.
The cyclists started assembling near Lucky Restaurant on SV Road in Bandra, well before dawn. After actor Milind Soman flagged off the ride at 7am, the cyclists started pedalling towards Shivaji Park, Dadar.
“I didn’t mind waking up early on a holiday because I wanted to help make my city clean,” said Dilip Dube, 20, a hotel management student from Titwala.
Alighting at Shivaji Park, the cyclists started cleaning with zeal, collecting piles of garbage from a spot near the park.
The venue for the event was chosen with care. Every year, lakhs of people camp at the park on December 6, to pay homage to Dalit icon Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, on his death anniversary. On Sunday morning, the area around the park was strewn with discarded paper plates, cups and other garbage.
Armed with their brooms, the cyclists swept the area. By the end of drive, they had collected 10 bags of garbage.
“We are serious cyclists, but we do not shy away from participating in a good cause to clean up the city,” said Pankaj Patil, 32, a software engineer, who is also part of the Mira-Bhayandar Cycle Club.
The event saw active participation of several cycling clubs in the city, such as the Bandra Cycle Club and the C3 Cycling Club. “Cycling promotes clean travel and reduces pollution, which is also an important aspect of cleaning up the city,” said Inderjit Singh, 32, member of the Palm Beach Riders.
William Woudenberg, a 61-year-old Netherlands national who has been living in Mumbai for a year, also participated in the drive. “I love this city, but those coming here for the first time are shocked by its state,” he said. “So I want to help make it cleaner.”
Many women cyclists registered their presence. “I try to keep the city clean in my own way. I ensure that I don’t litter, but campaigns like this will help make more people aware,” said Rebecca Carvalho, 37, a resident of Kurla.