Tuesday November 19, 2019
Home India Meet These Co...

Meet These Communities who Clean India’s Mountains, Beaches of Garbage Trails

"It is really about exploring spaces with empathy, and sense of preservation and sustainability"

0
//
eco-movement, water bodies
The community-led movement grew into the Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI), a non-profit wildlife conservation and habitat restoration group. VOA

With an environmental crisis looming over the planet, is the way out community-led? Two cleaning initiatives in India, targeting heavily-visited – and littered – mountains and beaches, show how civic conviction can turn into an on-ground impact that ropes in local stakeholders.

‘Bringing back our old Dadar beach’ was the simple phrase motivating Chinu Kwatra, 28, when he first picked up garbage from the squalid Dadar beach two years ago — the first step of removal of more than 2,000 tonnes of garbage — and set the ball rolling for a community-led beach cleanup.

Recalling the episode, Maharashtra’s Thane-based Kwatra told IANS how momentous changes begin small. For his collective Beach Warriors, it began with a day-long cleanup drive after he saw ‘visarjit’ (immersed) Ganesha idols everywhere on the beach.

A Facebook post about it travelled to an old professor, who then suggested that they extend it beyond a day. However, even in the campaign’s second week, it was the same three people doing back-breaking work to free Dadar beach of its detritus. “I felt I will lose the battle if more citizens didn’t join us,” said Kwatra, who quit his job to take up community work.

garbage trails
There are an average of 20 volunteers cleaning each of the seven beaches they work on — Cuffe Parade, Worli, Bandra, Juhu, Erangal, Madh, and Dadar. Wikimedia Commons

To Kwatra’s surprise, it wasn’t long before local support started pouring in the form of students and “within an hour, from three the number rose to 25”, and then, attracted even more. What involved just two of his friends at first, propelled many communities into action. The team now gets volunteers from organisations, corporate houses, schools and colleges.

The social changemaker leads a core team of 40 Beach Warriors. There are an average of 20 volunteers cleaning each of the seven beaches they work on — Cuffe Parade, Worli, Bandra, Juhu, Erangal, Madh, and Dadar, he said.

Inviting other people to step forward in their respective communities, Kwatra said that they aren’t doing “anything great” but only what “every citizen must do”, regardless of administrative intervention.

Kwatra said he was inspired by Afroz Shah, an environmentalist and lawyer, who led another set of volunteers cleaning Mumbai’s Versova beach — often termed as the world’s largest beach cleanup drive. It has removed thousands of tonnes of waste from Versova beach. Kwatra has now trained his eyes on cleaning up the highly-polluted Yamuna river in Delhi.

nepal, mount everest, garbage trails
Workers from a recycling company load garbage collected and brought from Mount Everest, in Kathmandu, Nepal, June 5, 2019. VOA

In the northern part of India, another cleanup drive targets mountains. Trekking enthusiast Pradeep Sangwan, who leads a similar volunteer-driven cleaning initiative in the Himalayan cities, advocates for sustainable tourism along with encouraging communities to step forward for damage control. His collective Healing Himalayas Foundation, founded in 2016, collects garbage from trekking routes and areas around waterfalls.

Having worked around Manali, Kheerganga, Shimla, and more recently, Shrikhand, the sustained campaign has been vocal about reducing the carbon footprint and plastic waste tourists leave around, to the extent that “if a lost trekker follows the litter trail during a trek, she could find the group”.

ALSO READ: Nepal Conducts Month-Long Cleaning Campaign to Convert Mount Everest Trash into Treasure

Speaking about their cleanup drive around Manali’s Jogini Waterfalls, Sangwan told IANS that it was relegated from a space for meditative activities to “a party place”. “Simply, the campaign is about saving waterfalls from becoming a big dump-yard. We organise regular cleaning drives and educating local communities and schools.”

Like Kwatra, Shah and several other community-oriented change-makers, Sangwan too stresses the importance of a collective change that takes birth within people’s hearts and shows in their actions. “It is really about exploring spaces with empathy, and sense of preservation and sustainability,” he strongly believes. (IANS)

Next Story

Indians Preferring Beaches over Mountains during Diwali Holidays

With the festive season around the corner, we are witnessing consumers stepping out of the city for a memorable time with loved ones

0
Indians, Beaches, Mountains
Most bookings for Goa have come from Pune, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad. Pixabay

Instead of celebrating the festival traditionally at home, Indians are preferring beaches over mountains during Diwali holidays, a new report from OYO Hotels and Homes revealed on Wednesday.

The booking data for the Diwali week, 25th October to 31st October, 2019, shows people are heading to the land of beaches, Goa, this year followed by metro cities Delhi and Bengaluru.

Most bookings for Goa have come from Pune, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad.

“With the festive season around the corner, we are witnessing consumers stepping out of the city for a memorable time with loved ones whether it’s Goa or neighbouring towns,” said Gaurav Ajmera, Chief Operating Officer, India & South Asia, OYO Hotels & Homes.

Indians, Beaches, Mountains
The booking data for the Diwali week, 25th October to 31st October, 2019, shows people are heading to the land of beaches, Goa, this year followed by metro cities Delhi and Bengaluru. Pixabay

“Moreover, with consumer focused brands running creative campaigns and offering attractive services at great discounts during this time, we see a significant increase in bookings within the hospitality and tourism industry,” Ajmera said.

Indians are preferring beaches over mountains this year with most bookings witnessed for Goa, Mumbai, Puducherry and Visakhapatnam over scenic beauties like Ooty, Lonavala, Mussoorie, Nainital, Manali, Darjeeling, Mount-Abu, the report said.

Delhi and Bengaluru witnessed most bookings from within the city showcasing how people are opting to relax this Diwali week.

The report added that most Delhiites booked for Amritsar, Jaipur and Lucknow whereas Mumbaikars plan to visit Pune, Mahabaleshwar and Lonavala, the report said.

Also Read- Smart Bulbs Can Hack Personal Information: Reasearch

People from Bengaluru, on the other hand, are planning for Mysore, Ooty, Mangalore, Kochi and Puducherry.

According to the report, The company also saw maximum bookings by couples for the Diwali period closely followed by family outings. (IANS)