From Versova, Mahim, Juhu to Dadar, every weekend, some of Mumbai's beaches see concerned citizens and swachh crusaders indulge in clean-up drives that have now become famous. Away from the media glare and attention, there are some silent warriors who are embracing the cause of cleanliness and preserving the pristine natural beauty. Meet 31-year-old Dharmesh Barai who is on a mission to clean some of the iconic waterfalls of Maharashtra.
Waterfalls like Kondeshwar temple, Anandwadi, Pandavkada and Zenith are some of the best weekend getaways, from cities Mumbai in Maharashtra. But with popularity come tourists, picnickers, and piles of garbage. Saddened by the deteriorating state of waterfalls, 31-year-old Dharmesh Barai along with his wife, initiated a waterfall clean up in 2016.
Dharmesh Barai along with a 9-member team of his NGO Environment Life has been taking up environmental causes like tree plantation, awareness programmes since 2008. It is in the year 2016, he decided to combine his love for waterfalls with Central government's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and initiate waterfall clean-up drive in Maharashtra.
So two years ago on October 2, Dharmesh kick started ?Waterfall Cleanup Drive' and since then there has been no looking back. As of today, the team has organised seven clean-up drives, cleaned up 13 major waterfalls and collected over 7 tonnes of garbage.
The collected waste majorly consists of liquor bottles, plastic and thermocol plates and cutlery, packaged water bottles, wafer packets and other things.
Apart from cleaning up the waterfalls, the 10-member team conducts awareness sessions for both locals and tourists. The results of all the efforts are visible. With each clean up drive, locals become more aware and appreciative of the work swachh warriors are doing.
'We have twice organised waterfall clean-up drive at Anandwadi waterfall. When we went there for the first time, locals lacked awareness. We conducted awareness session and discussed various aspects of cleanliness and sanitation. And when we went there second time, locals, especially youngsters helped us in picking up the trash', explains Dharmesh.
To ensure waterfalls are maintained and the area is spic and span, team Environment Life also suggests measures that can be applied by the government, like banning consumption of liquor within 500m of the waterfall zone, construction of toilets, dustbins, and others.