The attempt by volunteers at Dadar beach is to recreate what Afroz Shah has done with Versova Beach, which is now an internationally renowned effort with the United Nations Environment Programme supporting and recognising it. Mr Shah, a lawyer by profession, who had started with a small bunch of volunteers, went on to lead a huge group of people who would spend their weekends removing tonnes of plastic from the beach.
With the Bandra-Worli Sea Link on the horizon, close to a hundred volunteers joined Mr Thackeray and Dia Mirza to spend time removing plastic from the sand, which is a time consuming process. "As we pick up the litter we have to ensure we don't go on littering. We have to break the cycle and I think we have started breaking the cycle. We have started putting our responsibilities on people like Afroz and take on this responsibility ourselves," Aaditya Thackeray, who has led a political effort to ban the use of single use plastics in Maharashtra, told NDTV.
"Today is Earth Day and I am joining Chinu who has started beach warriors after being inspired by Afroz Shah. I hope there are more such citizens movements for Mumbai and other places because this work shows that the waste we create, especially plastic, goes into the sea through our rivers and drains. This is causing massive pollution and affecting entering our food chain," Dia Mirza said appealing people to stop using plastics.
Several NGOs like Earth Day Network also joined the effort with the aim of extending the campaign across the length and breadth of the country, to annually reach 35 million people
With the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day in 2020 approaching, World Earth Day Network is also launching an ambitious set of goals to shape the future of 21st century like planting 7.8 billion trees by 2020, one for every person on Earth. Taking that effort forward one step at a time, both Aaditya Thackeray and Dia Mirza also planted trees to create more greenery in a city like Mumbai. Several other bodies like CREDAI-MCHI and Mission Green Mumbai have also joined this effort.