Versova Beach Cleanup Suspended After 109 Weeks Due to Government Indifference and Volunteer Harassment
It has been more than 2 years since lawyer-activist Afroz Shah has been trying to clear up the garbage off Versova Beach. After spearheading a revolution that saw countless volunteers and celebrities taking part in the initiative he has suspended the 109 weeks of cleanliness drive citing that abusive goons and government’s apathy led him to abandon the cause. Afroz Shah had started the campaign in October 2015 and has reportedly removed more than 5 million kilograms of trash from the beach. He had shared pictures of a much cleaner and hard to recognize Versova beach on his Twitter which led to many on social media applauding the man’s efforts. However, now the ocean lover and activist has abandoned the project because the government is not helping and there were incidents of the man who operates the JCB tractor removing the filth being heckled by goons. It is saddening to know that the cleanup drive will be suspended due to government indifference and volunteer harassment.
Afroz Shah took to Twitter on November 19, 2017, and shared pictures of accumulating garbage at the beach with the words, “Week 109 cleanup.Volunteers abused by goons for picking up garbage.Administrative lethargy,non-clearance of picked up garbage and abuses is what we are facing. World’s largest beach cleanup is suspended. Tried my best and I failed. Forgive me my ocean and my country.” This sad tweet talks about the amount of pain that Afroz Shah must have felt seeing that the labour of so many volunteers has gone down the drain just because of some people. Versova beach: Mumbai’s dirtiest beach is now clean, 5 million kg filth and plastic removed
Afroz Shah’s disheartening tweet
Week 109 cleanup.Volunteers abused by goons for picking up garbage.Administrative lethargy,non clearance of picked up garbage and abuses is what we are https://t.co/ydEzp638C6 largest beach cleanup is suspended.Tried my best and I failed.Forgive me my ocean and my country. pic.twitter.com/XdFJMfZNeV
— Afroz Shah (@AfrozShah1) November 19, 2017
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had praised Afroz Shah’s efforts in his Mann Ki Baat address and Vice President M Vekaiah Naidu had also applauded his efforts. Even Hollywood actor Leonardo Di Caprio had praised his mammoth effort in spearheading the voluntary campaign. However, looks like because of government apathy who failed to pick up the garbage and some goons who have been heckling the volunteers at Versova Beach the world’s largest beach cleanup is suspended. Mumbai’s once dirtiest beach, Versova gets a makeover with 300 coconut trees after being cleaned
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu’s tweet
— M Venkaiah Naidu (@MVenkaiahNaidu) May 22, 2017
Leonardo Di Caprio had shared an Instagram post
However, it seems the energy and motivation fizzled out and the government, as well as the goons, is back to square one, turning a blind eye and littering everywhere. When will our country understand the need for cleanliness and the fact that this is our country and it belongs to us and we are responsible for it?