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Here’s how 15 students got back beauty for their beach in Mumbai

‘Beach Please’ campaign started in September 2017; 40 tonnes of waste collected so far

mumbai Updated: Feb 19, 2018 00:08 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,dadar beach,beach clean-up
Volunteers at the beach clean-up held at Shivaji Park, Mumbai, on Sunday. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

In September 2017, Malhar Kamble, a CA student at KPB Hinduja College, Charni Road, put out a message on a WhatsApp group consisting of his former schoolmates, suggesting that they meet on a weekend to clean Dadar’s beach. That meeting has now turned into a campaign to clean the dirty beach.

The college students gather every week, mostly on the weekends, to clean the stretch of beach around Chaitya Bhoomi, Shivaji Park. In its 24th week now, their ‘Beach Please’ campaign has now become a regular ‘reunion’ of these youngsters.

“When we discussed the idea pitched by Malhar, we realised that if we really want to do something for the environment, we can’t just be sitting and talking about it on social media. We need to get on the ground and prove ourselves, that’s how eventually everyone got involved in this project,” said Chinmaya Dige, a Bachelor of Mass Media student from RD National College.

After the Versova beach clean-up, termed as the world’s largest beach clean-up by the United Nations, other beaches in the city in need of a clean-up are getting attention from volunteers. Around 15 volunteers of ‘Beach Please’ have been funding the clean-up drive by chipping in Rs300-500 per month from their pocket money.

Every week ,the volunteers invite social groups from various colleges to help them with the clean-up. Some students from Vidyalankar Institute of Technology and Usha Pravin Gandhi College have now become regulars, Dige said.

Murtaza Zoomkawala, co-founder of the The Little League, was present on Sunday for the first timefor the beach clean-up drive, along with his group of 100 children from slum colonies. “We got to know about this initiative through another NGO. When they told me that it was being done by a group of students, I thought I should get these young kids because that way they will be able to take this message back to their families,” said Zoomkawala.

The group ends up collecting around one tonne of waste each time they meet, out of which 80% is plastic.

The group has been trying to get the help of the local community in the campaign. “As this beach is usually used for performing religious activities, we have gone ahead and tried to speak to people asking them to not dispose flowers and other religious items in the sea. But, a day after festivals is when we collect the most amount of waste,” said Kamble, 20, who is in his final year of college.

Appreciating the efforts put in by youngsters, Sunil Saitawadekar, the contractor appointed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to clean Dadar and Mahim Chowpatty, said awareness had increased about environmental problems, which is how a lot of volunteers have now come forth to help the civic body in keeping the beaches clean.

“The problem here is all the waste flows downfrom Mithi river, there needs to be a solution in place to stop that. But, regular cleaning has helped the beach look better as compared to what it was 10 years ago,” said Saitawadekar.

First Published: Feb 19, 2018 00:02 IST