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Mumbai’s Versova beach clean-up resumes, is here to stay

Afroz Shah said he has decided to continue his drive, which chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray will join

mumbai Updated: Dec 02, 2017 23:38 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times
Devendra Fadnavis,Aaditya Thackeray,Versova beach clean-up
Afroz Shah (in black) clears Versova beach of trash, accompanied by students, policemen and civic officials on Saturday.(Shashi S Kashyap/ HT )

With elected representatives, students, citizens and policemen by his side, lawyer Afroz Shah was back in action on Saturday, cleaning Versova beach and raising awareness among residents.

“Tenders cannot solve the problem of marine litter. We are here to bring about a change by changing the people’s mindset. We reach out to the root cause of the problem by holding awareness drives in slum areas and asking people to not throw waste in the creeks,” Shahsaid.

Shah added that he visited Siddharth Nagar earlier that day, and asked the coastal community to not litter the creek that meets the ocean.

Shah said he has decided to continue his drive, which chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray will join on Sunday.

This comes two weeks after Shah decided to suspend the clean-up after 109 weeks, citing administrative lethargy on the part of the civic body, threats from local goons and the civic body’s failure to collect 5 lakh kg of garbage since July.

However, he said the “ground reality had changed” since then.Shah told HT that the BMC had worked hard to clear 120 truckloads of garbage since he suspended the drive.

“There is a beautiful synergy between the authorities and citizens, which you won’t find anywhere else. Everyone is now working hard for the betterment of the environment,” Shah said.

A ward official said the beach had been cleared of all its garbage over the past 10 days. “Today, there wasn’t much garbage for the group to clear as our workers had cleaned the area. They had demanded two dumpers and we provided them with four. There wasn’t enough garbage to fill them,” an official said.

“The movement is interdependent, the citizens and the authoritieshave to play their part. Now that things are okay at the ground level, we are here to stay,” said Versova Residents’ Volunteers member Pawan Dhankhar, who has been associated with the movement for a year.

Though the ward officer Prashant Gaikwad was unavailable for comment, MLA Bharati Lavekar, who joined Shah on Saturday, took to Twitter to appreciate the enthusiasm of youngsters and commend Shah for his efforts.

“Versova beach clean-up is back after a brief hiatus and how! Joined Afroz Shah in cleaning our natural heritage. Was accompanied by Prabhag Samiti Yogiraj Dabhadka and Corporator Ranjana Patil,” Lavekar said.

First Published: Dec 02, 2017 23:37 IST