Chinu Kwatra, an ardent devotee of Lord Ganesha, witnessed a visarjan (immersion) after Ganesh Chaturthi. What broke his heart was the scene of broken idols that washed ashore along with flowers, plastics and other materials. His heart broke not just by seeing his idol lying abandoned on the shore, but also because of the amount of garbage that plagues Mumbai beaches.
The usual activities such as drinking alcohol, throwing waste had caused immense harm to the place. So, he decided to save the beach at any cost. Thus the ‘Dadar Beach Clean Up Campaign’ began under his leadership. With the advice he got from him mentor Mrs Indu Mehta, Professor at Welingkar Institute of management, he started “Save the Ganesha Campaign”. Later, the name changed into “Dadar Beach Clean Up Campaign”.
Chinu Kwatra, the co-founder of Aarna Foundation spearheads the campaign. It started with 3 volunteers, but in no time, the strength increased. Now, 75 to 100 volunteers take part in the cleaning process. They collect waste including plastic, cloth, idol parts, flowers, Plaster of Paris and biomedical waste. They have now completed 19 weeks of their campaign, removing 100 tonnes garbage from the shore. When cyclone Ockhi hit the Mumbai shores, volunteers of Dadar Beach Clean Up Campaign were in the forefront, armed.
Save the Beach – Dadar #Week19
40+ volunteers collected 4-5 tonnes of garbage which had 80-90% of plastic. We urge people not to use plastic. Let the environement breathe.#beatpollution #SwachhBharat @mehtaindu @AfrozShah1 @RandeepHooda @SwachhBharatGov @MoHUA_India @PMOIndia pic.twitter.com/gjTNbn8RqU
— Chinu Kwatra (@chinukofficial) December 31, 2017
Small Initiative Went Viral
A small initiative started by Chinu under his Aarna Foundation went viral in course of time. Students, corporates and the government have also joined hands with them. “Now, BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) provides the trucks for carrying garbage. BMC workers also started coming to the beach for cleaning. We also ensure the participation of NSS volunteers”, said Kwarta.
Beautification of the beach
Cleaning is not their only moto. The campaign also focuses on the beautification of the beach with palm trees, street lights, public toilets and dustbins. “Now there are no public toilets in the beach. This beautification process definitely makes the beach more beautiful, at the same time it will help our economy to grow, by attracting tourists”, said Chinu.
Kwatra was inspired by Afroz Shah, the man who tirelessly cleaned Mumbai’s Versova beach every Saturday and Sunday for over 115 weeks. Shah has been awarded by the United Nations and applauded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his selfless work.
When asked about the present condition of the beach, Chinu told The Logical Indian, “The present condition can be analyzed by seeing the tourists there. People come here for jogging, playing and for an evening walk. It was the only beach we had to play, but when the garbage started coming into the beach, and people started drinking, things went upside down. We are not only protecting the environment, the campaign is also beneficial for our nation’s economic growth. The more tourists are attracted to the place, the more income we get”.
Yes, the results are evident and Kwatra and his team try their level best to ensure that their campaign goes into full swing in 2018 too.
If anyone is willing to volunteer you can contact Chinu Kwatra at [email protected]