On the last weekend of April, the sunny island city of Mumbai woke up to cleaner beaches, courtesy of the “Jallosh Clean Coasts” programme.
As the world celebrated Earth Day on April 22 – volunteer groups joined forces to clean several beaches in the city. Resonating with the theme for this year, “Invest in our Planet”, thousands of Mumbaikars participated in giving a new lease of life to Mumbai’s choked beaches dotted with domestic waste, plastics, and pollutants.
The programme commenced sharp at 8:30 am.
The clean-up activities took place across seven beach locations. Additionally, five mangrove sites, including priority sites found in Versova and Airoli, three river banks, and one lake across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region were also part of the clean-up drive. Popular tourist sites like Cuffe Parade and Juhu were also focus areas.
Thousands of Mumbaikars ranging from citizen groups, children, civil society organisations, corporations, to local communities participated across locations - making it a pivotal movement for volunteerism in India.
WWF India was also an initiative partner for the event. Our team built up a large base of concerned citizens across ages and backgrounds. We partnered with colleges, non-profits like the Helping Hands with TejRan and employees from the DCB Bank Ltd. and Firstsource Solutions Ltd.
Talking about individual actions, our Maharashtra State Coordinator, Farmeen Mistry, said, “While cleanliness is an important aspect, WWF India highlights the need to conserve the vital habitat that supports a plethora of marine and mangrove species. The idea is to inculcate behavioural changes among our volunteer networks by spreading awareness and providing a platform to take up active collective actions.”
Children playing WWF India’s exclusive floor games
Clean-up drives are essential for the health and well-being of communities and visitors to the beaches along with a multitude of species and organisms that call these habitats home. Right at the edge of concretised Mumbai lies a hidden world of charismatic creatures, including colourful sea sponges, different types of snails, delicate sea anemones, vibrant sea slugs and even corals!
Volunteers and visitors to the beach fronts learned about the myriad creatures we share our coast with through the Coastal Biodiversity Maps created by Rohan Chakravarthy of Green Humor fame, which were put up at the clean-up locations.
Participants of the clean coasts movement
Speaking about the volunteering opportunity, Tina Basu Roy, Manager - Human Resources at Firstsource Solutions Ltd, said, "Our employees present at the Juhu Beach witnessed a paradigm shift in community well-being, thanks to WWF India. Volunteer connection in programmes such as these is quite essential. It is the need of the hour to help defuse environmental issues like plastic waste and climate change.”
The volunteers and participants of the initiative
The year 2022 is the third edition of the clean-up campaign. The Jallosh - Clean Coasts movement has found a spot in the Limca Book of Records (LBR) in 2020 for the most critical, volunteer-based public, private people partnership for conservation of water bodies and is an initiative of a city-based NGO - Project Mumbai.