After ‘world’s largest beach clean-up’, Versova gets a coconut lagoon
Next time you visit Versova beach, you can bask in the shade of 300 coconut trees planted by residents over the weekend.
As many as 500 members of Versova Residents Volunteers (VRV), led by lawyer Afroz Shah, planted 10-foot-tall trees at Sagar-Kutir, the entrance to the beach, adjacent to mangroves.
Over 88 weeks, VRV removed 5.6 million kg of trash from the 2.5 km-long beach located at the northwestern part of Mumbai. Residents will plant 200 more trees next weekend, to complete their ‘coconut lagoon’ project.
“The beach had a coconut lagoon almost two decades ago. People chopped all the trees and reclaimed the land,” said Shah. “We want to restore the lost beauty of this beach,” he added.
Coconut trees (cocos nucifera) can grow up to 100-foot-tall and are native to the Indian coastline. “We planted two-year-old trees, which have a better survival rate. We ensured they were transplanted with the entire root-ball,” he said. “We had dug pits earlier. Residents lent their support to the plantation drive,” he said.
On May 28, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the clean-up during his weekly radio address to the nation.
Meanwhile, Juhu beach, which is near Versova, is overflowing with garbage. Heavy rain in the city led to large quantities of plastic being washed ashore during high tide. Environmental watchdogs said a similar clean-up movement is required at Juhu.
“Garbage disposal has become a serious issue at several beaches in and around Mumbai. Citizens do not realise just how much waste is generated and how its effects are seen during the monsoon,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation. “The state needs to formulate a policy for the west coast, where citizens and the government can work together and trap the trash before it reaches the sea.”