March 22, 2018, would be penned down in the history of Mumbai as the day the city welcomed back Olive Ridley turtles.
It was early in the morning that Versova beach witnessed this delightful event when morning walkers and beach clean-up crusaders spotted baby Olive Ridley turtles for the first time in 20 years near Sagar Kutir Wadi. Onlookers were left overwhelmed by the beauty of the hatchlings.
80 hatchlings made an appearance from a 3-feet deep pit, marching safe and sound to the sea; meanwhile covering their 30-35 meters long journey down the shoreline.
Marine experts as well the concerned delegates of the State’s Mangrove Cell said this has happened for the first time in over a span of about two decades. Meanwhile, the natives believe this as a fruit of the stringent efforts of the Versova cleanup measures, spearheaded by conservationist Afroz Shah.
“I am very excited. We made sure the turtles went safely into the ocean. It’s a very happy and exciting time for all of us in Mumbai,” said Shah to The Logical Indian.
“When you begin your personal journey with the environment, nature gives you back. Nobody ever thought that Versova beach would get Olive Ridley turtles back. This puts more responsibility on us to handle the problem of litter and marine debris so that the turtles continue to make this their home,” he continued.
About Olive Ridley Turtles
Olive Ridley Turtles or the Pacific Ridley Turtles, primarily are the natives of the warm tropical currents of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. They are well-known for their synchronised nesting in huge figures. Currently, Gahirmatha beach along the Coast of Odisha is the world’s most important site for their nesting and hatching. Migrating several kilometers, the female ones specifically return to their nesting sites for hatching within a span of 24 months.
About Afroz Shah and his Versova Beach Clean Up Initiative
The sight of Olive Ridley Turtles is the successor event of the Versova Beach Clean-Up Drive headed by Afroz Shah, an environmental organiser and a young and dynamic Indian lawyer from Mumbai. Stretched for across 126 weeks, Shah and his helping hands made attempts to clean up one of Mumbai’s dirtiest beaches. Collectively they managed to outsource 13 million kilograms of plastic and other garbage from the shoreline. Sensitizing inhabitants, they worked out 200 successful beach clean-up drives. Owing to this, the Beach clean-up drive received the honorary of ‘World’s Largest Beach Clean-Up Drive’ from the United Nations.
“We got back Olive Ridley Sea Turtle after 20 years. Historical moment. Nested and Hatched at our beach. We facilitate their journey to the ocean. Constant cleaning helps marine species”, Afroz tweeted loaded with happiness.
Week 127 .
Fantastic news for Mumbai .
We got back Olive Ridley Sea Turtle after 20 years. Historic moment
Nested and Hatched at our beach. We facilitate their journey to ocean.
Constant cleaning helps marine species.
— Afroz Shah (@AfrozShah1) March 22, 2018