Remember when we told you about the brave and noble Mumbaikar, Afroz Shah who helmed the responsibility of cleaning up the Versova beach back in 2015? Yes, the same samaritan who created awareness, gathered like-minded volunteers and helped clean over 5 million trash, turning the landscape into a lush coconut lagoon?
If you’re trying hard, let me remind you it is the same program that you have read about in your papers, encouraging more and more people, including children to dedicate a few hours of their Sunday for the noble cause. But alas, and I say this with a heavy heart, the dailies have a different tale to tell.
After 109 weeks of relentless work and efforts, Afroz Shah has been forced to suspend Versova beach clean-up and the reasons will make your blood boil in rage.
According to Afroz, instead of getting help, his team of volunteers have had to put with a non-compliant administration and goons who abuse them regularly. He took to Twitter and wrote,
Week 109 cleanup.Volunteers abused by goons for picking up garbage.Administrative lethargy,non clearance of picked up garbage and abuses is what we are https://t.co/ydEzp638C6 largest beach cleanup is suspended.Tried my best and I failed.Forgive me my ocean and my country. pic.twitter.com/XdFJMfZNeV
— Afroz Shah (@AfrozShah1) November 19, 2017
“Week 109 cleanup. Volunteers abused by goons for picking up garbage. Administrative lethargy, non-clearance of picked up garbage and abuses is what we are facing.
World largest beach cleanup is suspended.Tried my best and I failed. Forgive me my ocean and my country.”
You read that right. If this isn’t worrying then what is?
In an interview with Mumbai Mirror, he has opened up about the entire issue and it is alarming, to say the least. A dejected Afroz said,
“I have been defeated, despite the fact that I was only trying to do something positive for our country, city, and the environment.”
Explaining further, the city-based lawyer cited it becomes a task when the volunteers are hurled abuses at. However, he maintained that the goons do not appear to be locals.
Talking about the non-cooperation where garbage collected by his volunteers remains piled up near the Kolis’colony, Afroz said,
“The BMC is taking a lot of time to remove the garbage. If they are saying there is plenty of sand in the garbage we collect, hence the delay, they should segregate it or ask us to do it. Someone will have to do it after all.”
Having said that, Afroz insisted that it isn’t any “Us vs Them battle” but he is pained because it was a personal journey he couldn’t complete.
Wondering if there is some respite? There’s one!
Amidst all, there is one hope though. The suspension is only temporary till the administration promise help with the noble cause.
You hear that, Mumbai police and BMC? Don’t we deserve this chance? Doesn’t our environment deserve it more? Something to ponder on.