Juhu, Versova and Aksa are the city’s filthiest beaches, showed a five-month survey of eight beaches in Mumbai.
NGO ReefWatch Marine Conservation analysed the beaches at Uttan, Gorai, Aksa, Madh, Versova, Juhu, Dadar and Girgaum chowpatty from November 2015 to March 2016 as part of its study, Clean Urban Coasts. The waste found on the beaches included plastic bags, food wrappers, plastic fragments, cigarette butts, plastic bottles, cups, glass fragments, paper, cardboard and polythene cement bags. The maximum amount of plastic trash was found on the three beaches, according to the quarterly report.
“Marine debris density for all sites during low tide and high tide showed a consistent trend of most abundance being at Juhu and Versova, even though these beaches were regularly being cleaned by the civic body. Maximum amount of large pieces of debris items was seen in Juhu, Versova and Aska beach while Uttan and Gorai had the least amount of trash,” read the report.
Animish Limaye, mainland projects manager, ReefWatch Marine Conservation, said, “The quantum of trash seen over the survey period is much less than what it would be after Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Puja immersions.”
Limaye said plastic or polythene bags was the most common waste found at all beaches, especially Juhu and Versova. “Rocks obstruct trash, which then gets stuck in the crevices. In case of Juhu beach, the tidal wall built to protect the jetty also leads to concentration of marine debris items,” he said.
Versova and Juhu beaches are regularly cleaned by the municipal corporation and citizens’ groups. “The situation is much better than what it was six months ago,” said Ashoke Pandit, a resident of Versova, who participates in the weekly beach clean-up drives, adding, “Residents and local governing bodies are active in removing pollutants from the beach. They need to continue with their efforts during the monsoon too.”
Officials from the municipal corporation said adequate measures are being taken to clear beach waste. “The planning department has floated a tender to get contractors to put up automatic beach-cleaning machines,” said a senior official from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s solid waste management department.