Eighty-five weeks later and 5.3 million kg of trash lighter, Versova beach is now pristine.
As many as 150 people participated in the world’s largest beach clean-up and cleared more than 16,000 kg of trash over the weekend.
Versova residents volunteers (VRV) group celebrated their 85th week of the initiative, with leader Afroz Shah taking to social media to post a photograph of the clean beach.
Government officials, officials from the United Nations and Mumbaiites congratulated the 33-year-old lawyer who initiated the clean-up in October 2015.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) had awarded Shah the UN’s top environmental accolade — Champions of the Earth award — at Cancun, Mexico, making him the first Indian to achieve such a feat.
“The entire beach is finally clean and our efforts have borne fruit. The trash that is washing ashore is now only coming from the sea. We have asked the civic body to start cleaning the creeks before the monsoon so the beach remains tidy,” said Shah.
Each year, people around the world produce nearly 300 million tons of plastic just as much plastic waste. Of that,13 million tons finds its way into our oceans. This is equivalent to dumping two garbage trucks of plastic into the ocean every minute.
The plastic wreaks havoc on our fisheries, marine ecosystems and economies, costing up to $13 billion a year in environmental damage.
VRV along with local residents and fishermen also traveled to the creeks in fishing boats over the past three months and cleaned up the garbage there.