Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Beach Bummed

Bus load of enthusiasm: From Aksa cleanup

Forty 8th grade students, one teacher and ten other volunteers (family, friends and colleagues) made their way to Aksa beach located in Malad, Mumbai on 8th February 2009. Our mission, like that of several others before us, was to ‘Clean Up’ the beach. This was the first initiative of Mumbai Rewind — a concept whose viability relies on the philosophy ‘Be Aware, Be the change, Cause a change’.

We intend to take Mumbai back to its glory days. When the traffic was managed, the pollution level wasn’t too high and the population was largely aware of their surroundings.

Pep talk: Video on Aksa cleanup

The purpose of the Aksa Clean up drive was not only to make the beach a little cleaner but also to make people aware of how we are damaging our environment each day. Ten students were asked to study a “fact sheet” which contained information like “one plastic cup takes 80 years to decompose” and solutions like “use earthen cups instead”. After the students were reasonably confident about the facts and the solutions, they walked up to strangers on the beach and imparted their new found knowledge to them.

The Great Aksa trash pile (collected by us - around 150 kgs of it): From Aksa cleanup

We collected approximately 150 kg of garbage from the beach in a span of 1 hour. The beach which stretches for around 2 km still didn’t look clean. Knowing the extent of filth on the beach we estimate that 500 people working tirelessly for 4 hours could probably make the beach a lot cleaner. Presently there are only two BMC sweepers who work for a few hours a week at the beach.

The trash at the beach comprised chips bags, chewing tobacco packets, toothpaste tubes, slippers, duffle bags, chuna tubes, cigarette packets, plastic bags of various shapes and sizes, newspapers, cardboard boxes, tooth brushes etcetera. We were shocked to find plastic bags embedded so deeply in the sand that we had to dig them out.

MUMBAI REWIND: The kids wanna say... From Aksa cleanup

The following week the students were taken through a feedback session where we discussed about what they felt about the drive and in what other ways we could help to save our environment.

We are determined to avoid the ubiquitous, ever so easy to use plastic bag and convince others likewise. If you share a similar passion and wish to be part of the change, do email us at mumbairewind@gmail.com

- Karthik, edited by Averil

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