Versova Beach is a beach facing the Arabian Sea, located in the northwestern city of Mumbai, India. At one end of the beach is the largest population of fishermen and Koli tribes in Mumbai. Unfortunately, the condition of this beach is very worrying because it is full of garbage. However, the new face of this beach began to be seen thanks to a cleaning project undertaken by a Mumbai lawyer, named Afroz Shah.
Before the transformation, the coast of Versova has declared the dirtiest beach in Mumbai. Various kinds of waste can be found on the beach. From plastic trash bags, sacks of cement, glass bottles, shirt pieces, and used shoes are thrown indiscriminately to litter the 2.5 km stretch of the Versova coast.
Seeing the state of the coast is very alarming makes Afroz Shah’s heart move and wants to clean it. Coastal clean-up activities have been done by Afroz since October 2015 ago. In the sixth, to early eight weeks, no one was helping Afroz. He collected garbage on the beach alone.
One day, two men approached Afroz and spoke politely that they wanted to help Afroz clean the beach. Since then Afroz believes that his efforts will achieve success.
The clean-up movement is getting more expanding and more volunteers are joining. Afroz even received the highest award of the Champions of the Earth from the United Nations Environment Project (UNEP) in 2016 for his pioneering efforts to clean up the Versova beach in Mumbai. The beach-cleaning movement was named the “largest beach cleaning project in the world”.
No wonder if the project is said to be the biggest because there was a lot of garbage. In just over a year the garbage collected by Afroz and other volunteers reached more than 4,000 tons. Until now the clean-up activities are still done even though had stopped in November last year for administrative reasons and harassment received by volunteers.
For weeks Afroz and hundreds of other volunteers cleaned up the Versova beach on weekends. Until the 108th week, the activity is still running smoothly without any obstacles. At that week as many as 40 tons of garbage can be collected by Afroz and volunteers from 12 countries. However, in the 109th week, bad events broke Afroz’s spirit to continue his project.
Afroz told people through Twitter that the volunteers were harassed by a group of thugs for picking up trash. Administrative flaws, unclear licensing is also a hindrance to the smoothness of the coastal cleaning project is initiated. Finally, Afroz reluctantly decided to postpone the continuation of the project until the right solution to the problem at hand can be found.
It is very unfortunate if the project should stop. After several years of cleaning beaches, Afroz and other volunteers have collected millions of kilograms of garbage. The condition of the beach began to gradually improve so it looks cleaner and healthier.
Fortunately, the problem does not interfere during the protracted. Citing news at the beginning of the month of 2018 it says that garbage collected from the net-cleaning Versova beach has reached 12,000 tons. That is, the spirit of improving the environment of the volunteers is greater than the fear of threats from the thugs and make them continue the beach cleaning project.
The struggle to collect thousands of tons of waste was not in vain. The latest news mentioned that now Versova beach has become the hatching of sea turtle eggs. Although there are many turtles nesting elsewhere in Mumbai, nothing has been seen on the coast of Versova in decades because of the acute pollution problem that pollutes the coast.
It made Afroz very happy because the existence of turtle eggs proves that beach cleaning really has a positive impact. The marine animals that once left the coast of Versova are now rediscovering the comfort of living on the beach.
The presence of waste in the sea proved very disturbing marine ecosystems. Without any sense of care to the environment, the garbage can always be easily found. Therefore, self-awareness to maintain the environment is very necessary to realize a healthy and clean environment that certainly coveted everyone.
Afroz persistence and other volunteers in cleaning the coast of Versova is a good example. like a saying that results will not betray one’s efforts and hard work, as that is reflected in Versova Beach transformed from the dirtiest beach into a stunning beach.