A mangrove clean-up drive, started on August 15, 2020, by three persons turned 100 weeks on Sunday with more than 10,000 volunteers participating over a period for a good cause.
The 100th week saw a mega clean-up drive at Karave Jetty mangroves on July 17.
In the last 100 weeks or two years, the group called "Environment Life Foundation (ELF)" has removed more than 100 tons of waste, from plastic bottles to household thrashes in the clean-up drive of mangroves.
Dharmesh Barai, a Nerul resident, along with his two friends, Sriram Sankar and Rohan Bhosale, started the journey of cleaning mangroves back in 2020. While Sankar works with a private company, Bhosale, at that time was a student of Printing Technology.
Barai calls themselves '3 idiots' and says that they did not even think that their small startup would be such a big initiative. They started cleaning mangroves from a small Karave Jetty and slowly their initiative attracted more than 10,000 volunteers who associated with them over the period.
The 100th week of mangrove clean-up saw over 300 volunteers who removed around a truckload of trash of which 70 per cent are plastics, and trash consisting of liquor bottles, cosmetic waste, medical waste, footwear, thermocol etc.
On the occasion, volunteers and guests talked about sustainability, and adaptation of the 3R formula (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle). 'Suryoday- A Bank of Smiles' distributed cloth bags to all the participants. Meanwhile, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) and Mangrove Foundation also supported the drive with logistics support.
Barai said that the achievement of 100 weeks of cleaning mangroves showed commitment, dedication, passion and love towards nature.
Anita Patil Chavan, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Mangrove Cell and Joint Director of Mangrove Foundation was present during the mega clean-up drive.
It is a collective effort to clean mangroves, she said.
"We need to create awareness regarding the importance of mangroves. It is good that common people, students, and working professionals are coming forward and participating in such kinds of wonderful works," added Chavan.