Remarkable Beach Cleanup Removes 5.3 Million Kg of Trash, Transforms Coastline

Remarkable beach cleanup effort in Versova, India

Anna Hunt
Waking Times

This is one of the most dramatic beach makeovers, ever. Over a span of 85 weeks, resident volunteers in north western Mumbai, India, transformed Versova beach from one of the most littered to absolutely stunning. The beach cleanup removed 5.3 million kilograms of trash, which is over half of the daily garbage generated by Mumbai.

  • Versova beach cleanup India

    Versova beach before cleanup – Mumbai, India

    Versova beach cleanup effort

    Versova beach after cleanup – Mumbai, India

    Largest Beach Cleanup Movement in History

    Local attorney Afroz Shah started this remarkable beach cleanup effort in October 2015. He received much support from Versova residents, students, businesses, and civic employees. In addition, the movement gained the attention of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

    Versova beach cleanup India

    Versova beach, Mumbai, India

    Versova beach cleanup Shah

    Afroz Shah at Versova beach, Mumbai, India

    What became the Versova Resident Volunteers group collected over 5 million kilograms of trash, including plastic, glass and other debris. In addition to their work on the beach, volunteers cleaned up many creeks that feed into the ocean. As a result of his leadership in this cleanup effort, Shah received the UN’s top environmental award, Champions of the Earth.

    Versova beach cleanup India

    Volunteers at Versova beach, Mumbai, India

    Versova beach cleanup India

    Volunteers at Versova beach, Mumbai, India

    After 85 weeks of collaboration and hard work on the part of thousands of volunteers, Shah was able to Tweet the successful completion of Versova’s remarkable beach cleanup.

    Domino Effect

    The Versova cleanup movement received much global attention. Since the onset of the effort, South Africa, a few beaches in North Africa, Yemen and Southeast Asia have started their own beach cleanup efforts to reduce marine litter, reports HT.

    UNEP executive director, Erik Solheim, believes the Versova beach cleanup sends a strong message to political leaders. He stated:

    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.

    In Versova, it is now up to the residents to take care of this stunning piece of coastline. Further, the people need support from the local government to help keep debris from arriving onto the beach via other waterways. 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.

    What happened in Versova is happening all over the world. Our oceans and coastlines are very polluted. We must face the reality that we are the ones littering. Thus, it is also us that need to do the cleaning. Moreover, cleanup is not enough in the long term. The best solution to ocean pollution is awareness and prevention.

    Dear ocean , I love you. I love you. I love you. We want to see you fit and pure soon. Get well and free from plastic. I love you. ~ Afroz Shah

    Please share this article so you may inspire others to help clean up their local waterways, beaches and parks.

    Images source:

    Read more articles by Anna Hunt.

    About the Author

    Anna Hunt is writer, yoga instructor, mother of three, and lover of healthy food. She’s the founder of Awareness Junkie, an online community paving the way for better health and personal transformation. She’s also the co-editor at Waking Times, where she writes about optimal health and wellness. Anna spent 6 years in Costa Rica as a teacher of Hatha and therapeutic yoga. She now teaches at Asheville Yoga Center and is pursuing her Yoga Therapy certification. During her free time, you’ll find her on the mat or in the kitchen, creating new kid-friendly superfood recipes.

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