After Versova Beach, Mumbai Lawyer Afroz Shah Also Cleans Up Mithi River

by Madhusree Chatragadda
After Versova Beach, Mumbai Lawyer Afroz Shah Also Cleans Up Mithi River

It is the time of plastic where rivers are choked and beaches are just resting places for the world’s dump being washed ashore. But in the middle of all the garbage and the plastic, there are people actively trying to clean up these places and present them to the world as never seen before. More and more people are becoming aware of the need to manage waste properly and reduce plastic. And the first step is to clean up the existing mess. Here is Afroz Shah, a Mumbai lawyer who not only cleaned up the Mithi River but is also responsible for Versova beach’s newfound status of the prettiest beach in India.

Credits: IIT Guwahati Creates India’s First Biodegradable Plastic

Credits: The Hindu

Mithi River Clean Up
Of the 18km stretch of the Mithi River, 1.25 km has already been cleaned up by Afroz Shah and the residents of the Filterpada Slum living near Vihar Lake which is the starting point for the Mithi River. In a conversation with Mumbai Mirror, Afroz Shah said, ” We started visiting the Filterpada slum colony every Sunday around 5 am, asking residents to just wash whatever plastic they had, such milk packets and biscuit sachets, and keep these aside. Gradually we trained them into cleaning plastic and segregating waste. Now they’re completely involved in the campaign.”

This has not only resulted in cleaner surroundings but taught the residents here of how to deal with plastic efficiently too. Win-Win right? But the job doesn’t end here, Shah wants to go on until the ENTIRE 18 km stretch is free of plastic and waste. With his own team and also the crucial help of the residents here, more and more people are also inspired to work with him and lend their hand to help clean our dying water bodies.

Credits: UNEP-UN Environment

The Inspiration
How did Afroz Shah come about in cleaning the Mithi River so actively? He told NDTV why in a recent interview, ” “The idea behind Mithi river cleanup is to create an army of people who love and value natural water bodies. I realised how bad the condition of Mithi river is when an Imam of a nearby mosque told me that 30 years ago, he used to use the water from the river as drinking water and now it has turned into sewage. The river is 18 kilometres long starting at Vihar lake in Powai and ending near the Bandra Kurla Complex. Looking at the condition of the river I can say that it is going to take at least five years to clean the river.”

Credits: cleanseas

What remains admirable here is despite the long duration, Shah remains undeterred in his venture of realising his goal. What’s more, there is also a schedule for more damaged rivers and beaches out there which he plans to clean as well and there is nobody to stop him with even the United Nations in his support.

The Circular Economy
This is a method Shah uses when doing the cleanups which are basically cleaning the plastic waste that has been collected so that they can be recycled and used again instead of littering the earth for years and years. But cleaning these adequately allows for this plastic to be recycled and reused end number of times and thus, is crucial to the cleaning process.

Versova Beach Cleanup
Before Mithi River, there was Versova Beach which had become notorious for being Mumbai’s dirtiest beach. But thanks to Afroz Shah and all the enthusiastic and hardworking volunteers, the dirtiest beach was converted into the prettiest beach of the city! Shah and his team plus all the volunteers had managed to remove 14 million kgs of PLASTIC and other waste from the beach. No doubt about it, the man is on a mission and it is to restore all waterbodies to their natural state, clean and blue.

Versova beach
Versova beach

Anyone can join and help restore the rivers of our country back to what they were, a source of life for all. We applaud the hard work of Afroz Shah and his team of volunteers for engaging so actively in all cleanliness drives and making Mumbai a better place for all. Even if you cannot physically assist the cleanups, all you have to do is reduce your plastic consumption. This you can do by replacing all plastic packaging with eco-friendly versions such as Jute or Glass etc. And the plastic you do use? Simply collect them, clean them and drop them off at recycling centres so that they don’t end up polluting our oceans.

Any more suggestions as to decreasing our plastic waste? Do leave them in the comments below for the benefit of us all. And catch how Versova changed into the most beautiful beach in Mumbai here.

Also Read: Versova Beach In Mumbai Could Possibly Be The Most Beautiful Beach In The City!