Versova Beach Mumbai: Just saying “I love my country” will not serve the nation. The small steps taken by individual will contribute to the actual development of the nation. Like Afroz Shah took the impossible challenge of Versova Beach Cleanup as his responsibility and turned impossible into reality.  It is inspiring to see how a lawyer, resident of Mumbai thought about Cleaning miles big beach which is full of plastics and waste trashes of about 9 kilograms. 

Versova Beach Cleanup

In October 2015, Afroz Shah along with his 84-year old neighbour Harbansh Mathur decided to clean Versova beach, also known as Danapani beach. He simply headed out with gloves and a bag towards the beach to begin collecting the trash spread all over the beachside. Slowly this move by him converted into “huge movement”. It became a heart-warming thing to see such a big crowd contribute together to effect change and to fight the country’s natural beauty. Moreover, now it is famous as “World’s biggest beach Cleanup in history”.

In an interview, Afroz answered a few questions:

  • How to start?
  • How to make people join this?
  • What to do with the collected garbage?
  • How to handle all the challenges?

But later he realized that thinking all this is of no use. His inner voice told him that all he has to do is to make a move. Then slowly all things will start falling into place. Over time, his beach-cleaning efforts gained momentum. All volunteers i.e. fishermen, friends, neighbors, rag-pickers and even Bollywood film stars came up for this movement of cleaning up the beach weekly on Sunday afternoon.

While segregating different waste from the beach, Afroz came to know a few things about waste

  • Do not buy items in shiny packets. The shinier the packet is, the more chances of recycling reduce.
  • Plastic bottles and milk packets are recyclable. So, they should be sent to the respective recycle industries.
  • Non- separable waste is impossible by an individual to segregate so, please sent the move to nearby landfills and then to recycling areas.

All the volunteers started following the below-mentioned quotation.

“Accept the challenges as your responsibilities, and then the difficult challenges will turn out to be easy.” and started indulging in this mission what Shah calls as “a date with the ocean”. However aptly illustrated as “laboring shin-deep in rotting garbage under the scorching Indian sun.”

Shah’s tremendous effort was recognized by the United Nation. Furthermore, he was considered as ‘Champion of the Earth’ in 2016. On his work, a documentary film, “A Plastic Tide” was also made.

Versova beach
Versova Beach Before and after cleaning

He proved this famous quotation by Mahatma Gandhi very well. 

” Be the change, you want to see in the world”.

-Mahatma Gandhi

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