Over the past one year, a massive clean-up drive of Mumbai’s famous Versova beach – also known as one of city’s dirtiest beaches – which started back in October 2015, has reportedly driven out nearly 5.6 million kilograms of trash. This public participation drive started by Mumbai-based lawyer Afroz Shah has drawn praise from all quarters, and even found a mention in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly radio programme ‘Mann ki Baat’.
And after 88 weeks of consistent efforts, things have certainly looked much better for Versova beach. And the pictures that have recently gone viral are proof of the efforts carried out by Shah and Versova Residents Volunteers (VRV), the group spearheading the movement.
This is versova beach an hour back. Week 85 of cleanup.Versova beach is gorgeous and clean now.we have done our bit.We need to maintain it. pic.twitter.com/98q9RD5aAg
— Afroz Shah (@AfrozShah1) May 20, 2017
During the 32nd edition of ‘Mann ki Baat’ in May, PM Modi lauded the efforts of volunteers who carried out the massive clean-up drive of the Versova beach.
“I feel proud to make a mention of something…a man can start a massive people’s movement. Recently you must have heard about Versova Beach, once considered very dirty, it has now become clean and beautiful. This has not happened overnight, locals have toiled for over 80 weeks,” the Prime Minister said in his address. He even acknowledged the efforts carried out by Afroz Shah and his contribution to the drive.
“I congratulate Mr. Afroz Shah and this movement…it is inspirational how he connected people,” Modi said. Shah, in response, said the Prime Minister’s words encouraged him and that the drive was a “demonstration of the incredible power of community-based volunteer work”.
Shah’s efforts, however, were recognised beyond just a mention in the Prime Minister’s monthly address. In 2016, the United Nations presented Shah with a Champion of the Earth award for his effort to clean up the Versova Beach. UN’s International Clean Seas campaign in Indonesia was also started along the lines of these efforts.
— Pankaj Singhal (@AnyBodyCanFly) June 11, 2017
Week 88 cleanup ends. 300 fully grown coconut trees get their home at versova beach .Wonderful weekend .We go back to our roots. pic.twitter.com/BlI0Pjbz5E
— Afroz Shah (@AfrozShah1) June 11, 2017
Following the success of the drive, Shah and the residents of Versova haven’t stopped there. On the occasion of World Environment Day on June 5, Shah, along with 500 volunteers of the VRV, planted nearly coconut 300 trees, in an effort to maintain whatever has already been achieved in cleaning the Versova beach.
Twitter is flooded with ecstatic before and photos of the beach, with people rejoicing in the change.
— Archana Pania (@Archanaapania) June 11, 2017
— AKSHAY (@4K5HAY) June 11, 2017
— UN Environment (@UNEP) December 2, 2016
— Sanjay Nirupam (@sanjaynirupam) June 4, 2017
Brilliant stuff man
— Neil Dsouza (@bestofneil) June 12, 2017
Wonderful .. we need more #Afroz Shah .. Good Job Team keep going👏👏👍👍👍
— zaheer (@zaheerq8) June 12, 2017