New Delhi: “Promoting a sustainable and climate resilient blue economy” is one of the priorities identified by the Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group (ECSWG) under India’s G20 Presidency. The third ECSWG meeting (May 21-23) kicked off with a G20 Mega Beach Clean-Up at Juhu Beach in Mumbai followed by other locations. According to an official press release,
As part of efforts to enhance awareness and sensitise citizens on the role of community participation in tackling the challenges of climate change, this campaign by ESWG is planned by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change in collaboration with Ministry of Earth Sciences and with active participation of Indian Coastal States/UTs and other G20 countries.
The beach cleaning campaign took place across more than 30 beaches in 9 coastal states and 4 Union Territories. With the support of Indian Embassies/Consulates, a beach cleaning campaign was also organised in over 20 countries including G20 and invited countries under Indian G20 presidency.
The aim of the beach clean-ups is to protect precious coastal ecosystems and marine life. The drives held across different parts of the country and world united many people who supported the efforts to protect the environment. Let’s take a look at some of the drives.
Juhu Beach, Mumbai
Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav participated in G20 Mega Beach Clean Up campaign at Juhu Beach in Mumbai on Sunday (May 21). Mr Yadav thanked all those who joined the campaign in G20 nations and 37 locations across the country. He also administered the pledge on keeping our oceans clean and healthy.
Accelerating action for marine protection!
A Mega Beach Clean-Up organised at Juhu Beach, #Mumbai by @moefcc & @moesgoi saw participation from @maha_governor, CM @mieknathshinde, Union Minister @byadavbjp, MoS @AshwiniKChoubey & #G20India delegates, prior to the 3rd #ECSWG Meet. pic.twitter.com/BXe2oKsi3Q
— G20 India (@g20org) May 21, 2023
Maharashtra Governor Ramesh Bais, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Union Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Maharashtra Minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha alongwith senior officials of central and state governments were also present on the occasion, as reported by the news agency ANI.
The selfie point at the beach was of a great attraction, followed by the stall showcasing recycled items from plastic like benches and car dustbins, among others. The plastic waste collected from Juhu Beach was recycled, using recycling machines kept at the beach, to enhance awareness.
Padma Shree awardee and sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik created a colorful sand art on the beach aligned with the event’s theme, featuring the G20 logo along with Prakriti, the mascot for LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment).
Today my SandArt on The Mega Beach Clean Up event at #Juhu , #Mumbai, on the sidelines of the 3rd #G20 #Environment and #Climate Sustainability Working Group (#ECSWG) meeting .@g20org @moefcc pic.twitter.com/oc78fi5DKZ
— Sudarsan Pattnaik (@sudarsansand) May 21, 2023
During the beach clean-up, 100 paintings on the theme of coastal and marine pollution were also displayed. Around 5,900 school students across the country had participated in an art competition and the top 100 paintings were selected and showcased at the meeting venue.
Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
A mega beach clean drive program was organised starting from Ramakrishna beach in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam to YMCA, on Sunday (May 21). As reported by the news agency ANI, speaking on occasion, Visakhapatnam District Collector A Mallikharjuna said,
Following the Central Government’s instructions to clean the country’s coastal areas, we organized a beach cleaning program along with the State Pollution Control Board. It was conducted as part of the Coast Cleanliness India G20 event.
Mr Mallikharjuna further said that it is suggested that any waste on the beach should be disposed of in the dust bins set up by Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC). He added,
The coastal cleaning program has been organized since last year in Visakhapatnam. Thank you to all those who participated in this program.
State Industries and IT Minister Gudivada Amarnath said that the coastal areas are getting polluted due to the use of plastic waste and it is the responsibility of all citizens to protect the coastal areas.
The mega beach clean drive was jointly organised by Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board, Swachhata Jan Bhagidaari and Coastal Cleanliness India G20 as part of India’s G20 Presidency.
Chennai, Tamil Nadu
The Tamil Nadu government organised a massive beach cleaning drive at Besant Nagar Beach in Chennai to remove the accumulated garbage. Tamil Nadu Health and Family Welfare Minister M. Subramanian and Environment and Climate Change Minister Meiyyanathan inaugurated the drive by waving a flag.
They also created awareness about clean beaches and beach safety. School students and volunteers also participated and collected the garbage from the beaches.
A large number of gutka packets strewn at Colva and Calangute beaches in Goa were recovered by participants of a beach clean-up drive undertaken as a part of India’s G20 Presidency, an official said, as reported by news agency PTI.
The drive was organised by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, Department of Environment and Climate Change, Goa State Biodiversity Board and Goa State Climate Change cell.
Indian Navy personnel also took part in the beach clean-up drive at Colva in South Goa district and Calangute in North Goa district.
State Environment Secretary Arun Kumar Mishra said gutka sachets were among the litter found at the beaches. He said,
I will issue instructions that either these sachets be processed or we will take legal remedies (against these product sellers).
Mr Mishra said the state government will certainly take measures to control this.
Speaking about the central government’s initiative, Mishra said in 2014, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi made this as an agenda, nobody could believe that cleanliness could be an agenda. He added,
But, it is established that cleanliness is an important agenda for the country.
Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry Director Dharmendra Kumar Gupta, who was personally present to oversee the drive at the Colva beach Goa, said,
During garbage collection, we saw there are lot of plastic bottles and plastic fishing nets on the beach.
Indian Navy’s Flag Officer Commanding Goa Area, Rear Admiral Vikram Menon, said it (such campaign) is very satisfying, but at one level it is disheartening to see “we are not doing enough, as a community, to look after our beaches.”
These are such beautiful beaches. We can’t expect everything to be done by authorities. We have to see as an individual that beaches are not littered.
Goa State Biodiversity Board member secretary Pradip Sarmokadam said it is the responsibility of every individual to clean-up the beaches. He said,
It is not that we litter a beach every time and contractors will clean it.
Mr Sarmokadam said littering has to be controlled at the source. He added,
We found many gutka packets lying here and there. Some action needs to be taken on it.
Other Nations Follow The Suit
Internationally, the event saw enthusiastic participation from 20 countries. Argentina, Australia, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK and the US are the 14 G20 countries and the six invitee countries are Egypt, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman and Singapore.
Here are glimpses of G20 beach clean-up at Brighton, in London, with the encouraging participation from the local community.
Glimpses of #G20BeachCleanUp at Brighton today with the encouraging participation of local community. HC @VDoraiswami and Mayor of @BrightonHoveCC addressed the gathering and took G20 mega beach cleanup pledge along with the participants. @moefcc @g20org #MyBeachMyPride pic.twitter.com/Tep2ylu0Fq
— India in the UK (@HCI_London) May 21, 2023
The concept of LiFE or ‘Lifestyle for Environment’ – promoted by the Indian Presidency was a key factor in defining the success of the event. LiFE is a concept that promotes changes in individual behaviour to tackle environmental issues effectively. It encourages community stakeholders to incorporate climate-positive practices in their day-to-day lives to help collectively save the environment.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diarrhoea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.