When the US Consulate in Mumbai tweeted on Sunday that they will joining the Versova beach clean-up event, not many batted an eyelid. With volunteers ranging from the UN Patron for the Oceans Lewis Pugh to residents, models, Bollywood personalities and others, the Versova Beach clean-up has attracted global attention.
Now, the state’s Maritime Board has joined the action with its Nirmal Sagar Tat Abhiyan, a campaign for clean sea fronts, launched Saturday with a view to make beach fronts clean, less polluted and more tourist-friendly.
Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik, taken on as brand ambassador for the Maritime Board’s campaign, crafted an evocative piece of art on the Versova sands. Maharashtra Maritime Board officials said the campaign is set to continue till October 2.
Through Saturday, despite the squally weather, volunteers joined the effort with civic staff to remove over 20,000 tonnes of garbage, including bits of Ganesha idols brought back by the sea after immersions on Thursday. The Versova Residents’ Volunteers which initiated the clean-up has reportedly worked 49 Sundays at a stretch with nearly 3 million kg of trash removed until now.
The Maharashtra Maritime Board plans to spread awareness on beach cleanliness through its weeklong campaign. While residents and activists have similarly initiated clean-up campaigns at other beaches including Juhu beach, officials hope the Nirmal Sagar Tat Abhiyaan will help spread the word wider.