For a few former students of the Dadar Parsee Youths Assembly school, a high school reunion goes beyond meeting over coffee and reminiscing about school days. They don’t wish to turn back time to the good old days but hope to turn these meetings into a worthy social cause.
And so, they decided to clean up the Dadar beach and dispose of the plastic and other trash which was thrown around irresponsibly. This clean-up, however, was not a onetime impromptu drive—it was the vision of a young student who observed that the beach is overflowing with plastic waste, which is tearing down its natural beauty.
Malhar Kalambe, a Chartered Accountancy student, started ‘Beach Please’ after his trip to Indonesia. “After returning to Mumbai, after the Ganeshotsav, I was shocked to see the disturbing state of our beaches. I rewound to my trip and thought of the clean beaches in Bali and then our own. After comparing the two, I realised that we are doing something seriously wrong.
Due to the overuse of plastic and its irresponsible disposal, the seashore is accumulated with plastic waste. I decided then that I have to do something about it,” Malhar told The Better India.
Starting with a core group of 24 team members, the Beach Please drive now gets around 100 volunteers every week, who come down to the beach and pick up trash. “In the past 24 weeks, we have managed to remove 85,000 kg of trash from the shore. Out of the total waste collected, 90% was noted as plastic waste. Every Sunday, after noting down the time of low tide, we set to Dadar beach to collect the plastic, flowers and other waste for about 2.5-3 hours,” Malhar said.
Although initially, only Malhar funded the campaign, the core members now contribute Rs 500 every month from their pocket money for Beach Please. They buy gloves and first aid materials for their volunteers from this money. “We invite different colleges, schools and groups for the clean up every week where we provide them with gloves, water and first aid and other necessities.
Before the cleanup, we brief them about its necessity and the consequences we may have to face if we don’t act now.”
The collected trash is disposed of responsibly with the support of MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) which provides them with tractor trolleys and JCBs.
Beach Please aims to sensitise people about the consequences of their thoughtless actions.
It also strives to bring to light how beaches are degrading due to the dumped plastic while cleaning the seashore in process.
“Every Sunday, we see that the amount of waste that we collect and dispose of the previous week somehow makes its way back to the beach. Unfortunately, only a handful of people cannot change this scenario. For this, the youth of our country should participate as much as they can. If we avoid the usage of plastic and segregate the dry waste from wet, then the question of cleanliness on the seashore would surely be a thing of the past,” Malhar told TBI. “I have cleaned my bit, have you?” he signs off.