The sea is supposed to smell like fresh air, salt and a hint of fish, and is supposed to be glistening waves as far as the eye can see. But in Mumbai, the smell is peppered with a distinct odour of rotting garbage, and the view is interrupted by random pieces of rag, plastic bottles and such floating away to glory. The adjoining shores are often cursed by the same fate. But lately, some citizens of Mumbai have taken it upon themselves to reverse this fateful curse. Afroz Shah for instance, had devoted 85 weeks to clear up 5.3 million kilos of trash off Mumbai’s dirtiest beach in Versova. Anya Rangaswami is now on a similar mission and hopes to clean up the Carter Road promenade, coastline and mangroves.
“The trash on the promenade, the rocks and the plastic knotted around the mangroves has been bothering me for a long time,” she said, adding, “So one evening, when I was on Carter Road for a run, I decided I was going to start cleaning the place.” Having discussed her idea with some of her friends, they all decided the more the better. So they posted the event on Facebook and so far, they have 71 people who have volunteered for the clean-up. With monsoon approaching, it is vital that the beaches be cleaned as the sea loves to return everything the people give to it during this season, owing to the change in water levels.
Anya contacted Mr. Darryl D’Monte, a member of the Bandra Residents’ Body, who put her in touch with a member of the Solid Waste Management division of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The BMC is to provide the volunteers with garbage bags and bins that would be required for the cleanup, also agreeing to collect the garbage that is cleared by the volunteers and transport it to the recycling centre in the city.
Recognising that irregular cleanups would prove ineffective, Anya hopes that this become a part of the citizens’ weekly routine. “I am reaching out to Bandra residents who know the area and the challenges we’re dealing with better than I,” she said. With the hope of moving to the other end of Carter Road and work on the beach, she said, “I’ve met with the BMC and charted out a phase by phase plan for the clean-up,” and explained that the third phase, the submerged mangroves, would be the most complicated and need the most attention as it needs equipment and well-planned strategy.
On Sunday, the southern stretch near the Otter’s Club is planned to be cleaned up, given that it’s mostly dry trash and plastic knotted around the trees.
The clean-up is set to take place on 4th June, 2017 from 10 a.m. and is expected to last two hours. The meeting point has been set as Nutrition Planet, Carter Road.