The Environment Life Foundation (ELF) has removed 260 tonnes of rubbish from mangroves in three years, including a tonne on Independence Day. Started with just three persons on August 15, 2020, more than 35,000 people have associated with the NGO so far. On August 15, 2023, the group, also called ‘Mangrove Soldiers’, conducted a drive near Shiv Mandir at Karave Jetty in Nerul from 7am to 10am. The drive started with the singing of the national anthem.
The event witnessed an immense turnout, with residents of Navi Mumbai, Mumbai, and its suburbs uniting as Mangroves Soldiers. Bollywood actor Ashmit Patel also joined the drive on the third anniversary. “We were honoured to welcome Bollywood actor Patel. He has supported the initiative through social media,” said Dharmesh Barai, the founder of the foundation. “The presence of Patel added a starry touch to this meaningful event. He shared his thoughts, emotions, and his advocacy for mangrove conservation, urging more citizens to join such vital initiatives,” said Barai.
“Through challenges and victories, our team has consistently strived for the protection of mangroves and the preservation of biodiversity. Our reach has extended from Nerul to Kamothe, with over 35,000 citizens proudly standing with us, removing over 260 tonnes of ocean waste from our mangroves,” said Barai. On August 15 the drive witnessed the involvement of over 100 volunteers who collectively removed more than a tonne of trash.
The collected waste included medical items such as syrup bottles, medicine packets and syringes, as well as cosmetic waste, FMCG packaging plastics, wrappers, liquor bottles, single-use plastics, cigarette packets, milk packets, and more. The drive received support from Mangrove Foundation, NMMC, Save Navi Mumbai Environment Group, Terna Engineering College NSS Unit, IWC NM Sangini Centurion, various organizations, corporate houses, companies, NGOs, foundations, schools, colleges, NSS units, and individuals.