Volunteers worked for 58 weeks to clean up this beach. Look at it now!
Did you know? 80% of the trash that’s haphazardly tossed onto the side of the road or dumped into landfills ultimately ends up in the oceans. Plastic waste, in particular, takes hundreds of years to decompose which is why pollution of the kind is such a detriment. Fortunately, 5.3 million kg of trash was picked up by volunteers over a span of 85 weeks, preventing it from being swept away in the ocean.
In northwestern Mumbai, India, the Vesova beach was once covered with pounds and pounds of litter. After volunteers dedicated days of their time to clean it up, however, it now looks transformed, reports Waking Times.
The initiative was started by local attorney Afroz Shah in October 2015. With aid from Versova residents, students, businesses and civic employees, hoards of trash were collected in no time at all.
Because of the astonishing “before and after” transformation, Shah and the volunteers, who now belong to the Verosva Resident Volunteers group, caught the attention of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). For his efforts, Shah received the UN’s top environmental award, Champions of the Earth.
UNEP executive director, Erik Solheim, says the Versova beach cleanup has benefited the world by sending a powerful message to political leaders.
“Apart from just collecting garbage from the shoreline, collection needs to happen at source. The government needs to educate people and provide techniques for recycling. Therefore, people living in areas where beach pollution is high can collect plastic, recycle it and sell it,” stated Solheim.
The environmental activists prevented millions of kilograms of trash, including plastic, glass and other debris, from joining giant convergences on the ocean, such as the Great Pacific Garbage patch which is 2x the size of Texas. Additionally, wildlife was protected from ingesting particles of the trash or being caught – and potentially killed – by plastic waste.
85 weeks after instigating the world’s greatest beach cleanup, Shah proudly tweeted about the group’s success:
In an interview with Hindustan Times, Shah stated:
“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.”
Reportedly, a few beaches in North Africa, Yemen and Southeast Asia have launched their own beach cleanup efforts to reduce pollution in the oceans. Share this news to spread awareness and comment your thoughts below!