- The Dadar beach cleanup began in April this year
- Jay Shringarpure, cleaned beach himself initially, now has 70 volunteers
- Cleanup campaign has been praised by the Ministry of Urban Affairs
Small incidents can leave imprints deep enough to last for a lifetime and prompt people to do the unbelievable. When Jay Shringarpure, a Mumbai based actor and businessman took out his seven-year old daughter for a casual stroll along the Dadar beach in April this year, little did he know that the evening walk would be the beginning of something life altering for him. Mr Shringarpure’s daughter asked him if she could play by herself in the beach. Mounds of discarded plastic and waste prompted him to say no but also made him realise that merely preventing his daughter from playing in the beach was not a solution.
It all started with my daughter asking me a simple question and my inability to answer it. I do not go to the beach frequently and decided to take my daughter. When I saw the sea, it was full of plastic and waste and I was afraid that something may happen to my daughter, said Mr Shringarpure.
That single incident was the beginning of Jay Shringarpure’s Dadar beach cleanup campaign, which has entered its 36th week on December 4. With around 70 volunteers, Mr Shringarpure visits the beach once every week during low tide and clears it of garbage. Though he is accompanied by volunteers today, the beginning was not very smooth for him when he had to continue with the beach cleaning efforts all by himself, for a period of two-three months.
I was all by myself for the first two three months. The Versova beach cleanup spearheaded by Afroz Shah came into the limelight then and it inspired me to take an initiative to clean up the Dadar beach, said Mr Shringarpure.
For the first two-three months, Mr Shringarpure collected waste from the Dadar beach all by himself, occasionally accompanied by his daughter or a family member. Slowly, his efforts were shared on social media and in time, he was joined by more volunteers, friends, family members and even locals who joined him in cleaning up the beach. The number of volunteers grew steadily, and today Mr Shringarpure is accompanied by nearly 70 volunteers, every week during his Dadar beach cleanup initiative. Nearly one to five tonnes of plastic waste are recovered during each cleanup operation.
People come not only from Dadar but also from areas far away to show their appreciation for the initiative. The awareness is gradually spreading, said Mr Shringarpure.
The Dadar beach cleanup initiative has been praised by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The Ministry took to Twitter to praise the efforts of all those participating in the Dadar beach cleanup. The cleanup initiative has also received adequate help from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which supplies cleanliness equipment as well as manpower from time to time to the initiative.
— Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (@MoHUA_India) November 6, 2017
Acknowledging the appreciation shown by the Ministry, Mr Shringarpure maintains that it is the people who must become more aware when it comes to using and discarding plastic into the sea. The beach cleaning crusader is hopeful of continuing this movement for a long time to come. Through this campaign, Mr Shringarpure wants to reach out to people, especially to those who do not stay near beaches and do not know how polluted the beaches are. He is hopeful that via this campaign, he will be able to spread awareness on the importance of segregation of waste and recycling plastic, so that the future generation can play on the beaches without any apprehension.