Marine litter poses a growing threat to the marine and coastal environment. Keeping this in mind, a voluntary organisation United Ways, Mumbai, had undertaken clean-up and marine conservation drive along the beaches of the city. As of today, the organisation has adopted over half-a-dozen beaches of the city under the project "Clean Shores", to enhance the overall state of cleanliness and waste management at the shores of Mumbai on a public-private partnership basis.
Project Clean Shores Mumbai strives to enhance the overall state of cleanliness and waste management at the beaches of Mumbai by engaging citizens and complementing the efforts of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
As part of this project, United Ways Mumbai has adopted seven beaches in Mumbai for sustained efforts. Through this project, they equip the beaches with infrastructure for maintaining cleanliness, supplement the MCGM’s efforts in cleaning, paint the walls at the beach to avoid unhygienic practices, ensure dry waste collected is segregated and sent for recycling and format Clean Beach Task Force.
Despite odds, the organisation has been able to collect and segregate 116 metric tonne of waste in the last 14 months and sent it for recycling. The BMC's own resources are supplemented with additional cleaners appointed for collection and segregation of waste. Citizen volunteers also participate in large numbers. To discourage people from littering, spitting and urinating, walls around and on the way to the beaches/ shores are painted and decorated.
In December 2019, the initiative was flagged off at shore/beach in Bandra, from July 2020 in Mahim. The project was implemented at Dadar Chowpaty near Suryavushi Hall, Beach near Hinduja hospital and near Chaityabhoomi in Dadar from 2021, informed a member of United Ways, Mumbai.
Every day, tonnes of plastic and other waste are disposed of in our water bodies. The litter not only spoils the scenery but is harmful to the natural habitat, including people and wildlife. Additionally, the debris thrown into marine bodies can last a very long time, affecting marine life for years to come.
"Many NGOs, environmental groups, citizen activists, students of the National Service Scheme (NSS), often carry out clean up campaigns. The majority of them are good and we are really happy that there are such initiatives at the citizens’ level. However, the waste collected from it is not always properly disposed of. Since the major chunk of the garbage from the beaches and shores comprise plastics and multi-layer plastics etc. this increases strain on the dumping ground if not segregated at source. The proper process is undertaken by united ways Mumbai is very helpful and works for everyone. It is a great initiative," said a senior BMC official.