Mahim Beach Clean Up

A look at the work at the Mahim Beach Clean up in Mumbai – the work so far, the problems, and how you can help! 

When we started Beanstalk, we always knew that we wanted it to be environmentally conscious. And just practicing green ways in the office wasn’t enough. It is no secret that humans on a whole are using earth’s utilities a lot faster than it can sustain. Waste generation is through the roof, and there just isn’t enough in place to successfully recycle or even dispose our daily waste.

On our travels, we see pristine beaches, and have that sense of never wanting to leave. Just sitting back and enjoying the sound of the waves, gazing off into the distant horizon. The seas and oceans are a gigantic world of wonder, with mesmerising colours, and beautiful marine life. So when we see beaches and water bodies buried in plastic, and marine animals dying due to this callousness, it breaks our heart.

American nature photographer Justin Hofman took this heartbreaking photograph of a tiny seahorse grasping onto a pink ear bud in murky water. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/ JUSTINHOFMAN

 

Hence, we took upon the cause of the fight against plastic, particularly at our beaches and water bodies. While reading about the great work of groups like 4Ocean, we wondered how we too could join this battle. That’s when we came across the Mahim Beach Clean Up.

The Beach Clean Up

Indranil and Rabia, residents at a building on Mahim beach, and pioneers of the Mahim beach clean up, were appalled by the condition of the beach behind their home. Waste was spread across the entire length of the beach, with piles of plastic rising up to above the shin! When constant calls to the local authorities didn’t work, the couple put on a pair of gloves and got to work themselves. Since then, they’ve had a lot of support in their cause, but there’s still a long way to go.

“When we started 35 weeks ago, we did not know how long it would take, but we knew there has to be a start. We’ve had a day where a corporate takes interest and brings 200 volunteers, and there’s been days when there’s just the two of us cleaning the beach. On an average, we have around 4 – 5 people join us every weekend. While we have seen this make a big difference in how the beach used to be and how it is now, there is still a LOT of work to be done. We need more volunteers, funds to help put up no littering signs, to paint walls on this stretch to that effect, and to purchase equipment. The biggest fund raising goal is to get a ploughing tractor that would help us remove the waste that is lodged deep in the sand, and is extremely difficult to remove manually. Our dream is to make this a beach that people come to admire and relax at.”

Volunteers helping clean the beach, against the beautiful backdrop of the Sea Link. If given proper attention, the stretch can be a popular hotspot for locals and tourists. It’s definitely Instagram worthy! 

The Challenges

Citing the lack of support and callousness from the authorities, they added that a lot of the help needs to come from the BMC and its contractors. “On a 5km beach stretch, the contractor has promised 16 workers. While that in itself is extremely less, we have rarely ever seen more than 6 people. We need to constantly follow up and monitor their work, and yet there have been times when a full week goes by without any garbage collection. This results in the beach going back to a worse condition than it had been in, after all the work the volunteers put in on the previous weekend. The major source of pollution for the beach comes from the Mithi river outlet flowing into the sea. There have been talks to put a mesh there, but that’s all it has been – talks. This has been long overdue and the authorities need to be expedite this urgently. The recently appointed assistant Municipal Commissioner, Mr. Ashok G. Khairnar, has been really helpful though, and we are hopeful of this being a great addition to our efforts.”

An image of the beach after the BMC contractors ignored their work for a week. All the hard work from the previous weekend was undone.

How You Can Help

Anyway you see fit! You can help by lending a hand at the beach clean up drives (details at the end), donate to the cause, get your office or community to organise a fun beach clean up day, help reach out to people who can help with better support from authorities, or anything else that you can think of – we are open to all ideas. Of course, we need to reduce the amount of waste we create to begin with, so saying no to single use items and plastic in your day to day life would be of great help. Yes, every single act helps.

We admit that it took us a while to attend our first beach clean up, but we’ve gone every weekend since our first.  We’ve managed to get a lot of friends & family to join us as well. The clean up itself is actually a lot of fun, conversing with a great view of the sea and sea link, and it’s a great work out too!

The beach clean up takes place every Saturday and Sunday morning from 8 am to 10 am. Entry is next to Al Bahr CHS on Veer Savarkar Marg. Gloves are provided, and you are advised to wear comfortable clothing and carry drinking water. You can reach out to Mahim Beach Clean Up on Facebook and Twitter, or contact us.

These children found a tiny clean spot and set up a pitch. Fielding is still in the garbage though. Imagine an entire clean stretch as a playground!

Karn Rateria

An experiential travel professional and sports consultant. 20 countries and counting. Love new experiences. Instagram - @KarnRateria

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