Long walks along the golden sands with the setting sun do not need to be a distant dream anymore. These beach cleanups in Mumbai are making this a reality; now you can be a part of it.
One of the fondest stories the previous generation recounts is of the countless hours spent on the beach. Weekends, they would say, meant sunny skies and sandy shores. But what was once a cherished family outing has now become the contrary. The question begs to be asked, “What are we doing to the planet?”
But even as we wonder, champions of change are steadily rising across India in unified action. Their sole aim is to turn the beaches of the country into the pieces of paradise they were meant to be.
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Call them activists, changemakers or simply individuals with a purpose, they are giving children their childhoods back.
If you’d like to channel your zeal for clean sands into something purposeful, here are some beach cleanups around Mumbai to check out.
1. United Way Mumbai
Through their Project Clean Shores Mumbai, the venture works with local authorities and community groups to breathe life back into the sands of the city. Their activities are concentrated in the seven beaches adopted in and around Mumbai — Chimbai beach, Versova beach, Daana Pani, Mahim beach, Chaityabhoomi, Suryavanshi and Mahim’s Reti Bunder. Their website claims they have managed to clear “137.76918 metric tonnes” of waste from Mumbai’s shores.
Register here to make a difference.
2. Mahim Beach Cleanup
The platform has its roots in a beautiful story that started in 2017 when Mumbai couple Rabia Tewari and Indranil Sengupta first moved to a luxurious sea facing home in Mahim. They were in for a rude shock when they realised that all they were looking at were mounds of garbage along the beach.
“We did not have any prior knowledge about cleaning up beaches. But we trusted our instincts and dived in,” Indranil had recounted in a previous interview with The Better India.
A passion project that started with 15 volunteers and the couple at the helm is now a booming beach clean-up group that was felicitated by the United Nations Environment Programme in 2018.
Register here to do your bit.
3. Dadar Beach Cleanup
In May 2018, a Mumbai Mirror headline read, “Dadar beach clean-up warrior Chinu Kwatra gets a pat from UN”. Kwatra had made headlines across newspapers in the city a year into his efforts and was applauded by Erik Solheim, then under-secretary and head of the United Nations Environment Programme.
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The venture’s most spoken-about cleanup was in 2018 when Kwatra put together a team of over 200 volunteers that cleared 200 tonnes of garbage off the beach.
In an interview with The Better India, he reiterated, “Nobody is telling you to travel all the way to help us. Do it in your area. When you make a simple choice of not dumping your garbage in the gutters or on the beaches, you are helping us indirectly.”
The group will be conducting a ‘Post Visarjan’ drive at the Dadar and Juhu beaches of Mumbai this weekend.
You can sign up here.
4. Versova Beach Cleanup
In contrast to those who crinkle their noses when they spot filth at a beach, lawyer Afroz Shah from Mumbai rolls up his sleeves. In the thrash, he sees an opportunity for transformation. In 2016, Shah was awarded the UN’s top environmental accolade – Champions of the Earth award, the first of many accolades for his work.
A scroll through his profile is a window into the various sides of his work. Pictures of filthy beaches are interspersed with shots of Shah addressing students on national and international platforms, advocating for a better planet.
The movement that started out with Afroz and his neighbour is now an army of thousands.
You can be one of them by signing up here.
5. Beach Please
In 2017, when Mumbai’s Malhar Kalambe overheard his friend complaining about the littered beaches post Ganesh Chaturthi, his friend’s mother’s retort caused him to think, “If you have a problem with it, why don’t you do something about it?”
That was the inception of Kalambe’s ‘Beach Please’ — a cleanup movement that is giving the sands of Mumbai back their golden hue.
According to an article in Forbes India, Malhar’s initiative has seen the support of “over 2,50,000 volunteers”. Just earlier this month, Kalambe’s team organised cleanups at Mumbai’s Mithi River and Airoli.
You can register to be a part of the initiative here.
6. Change Is Us
“Beaches are fun only when they are clean,” reads the website of Change Is Us — a youth-led initiative with a vision to ensure cleaner beaches and a healthier marine ecosystem for future generations. To date, through the venture’s endeavours, 375+ tonnes of waste have been diverted from the beach front through the hard work of over 14,000 volunteers.
The team’s activities are concentrated in Mumbai’s Chowpatty beach where they also conduct webinars, ‘happiness drives’, art sessions, among others.
Ensure your weekends are always purposeful by registering here.
7. For Future India
Every week since January 2020, the venture has attempted to revamp beaches into the wonderful microcosms of biodiversity they were meant to be. The efforts of their work is seen across Uttan Beach, Velankanni Beach, Gorai Beach, Manori Beach, Arnala Beach, Danapani Beach, Juhu Beach and Khardanda Beach.
With 15,000+ volunteers, the team has removed “approximately 6,00,000 kg of waste and plastic materials”. Alongside this, they are also involved in mangrove conservation since July 2021.
“If there were no mangrove forests, then the sea would have no meaning. It is like having a tree without roots, because mangroves are the roots of the sea,” is the motto that drives them.
You can make a change by registering here.
Edited by Padmashree Pande