“I asked her - How can people pollute the water bodies without giving a second thought? Why are we Indians so apathetic towards our natural resources? She just replied – If you think there is a problem, you should do something about it rather than just complaining. It got me thinking and that is how my initiative, Beach Please, was born,” says Malhar.
‘We have removed more than 1000 tonnes of trash so far’Malhar gathered 20 of his school mates for a unique 'school reunion' and arranged a clean-up drive in the Dadar beach the following week itself. After its success, it became a regular affair. It was during one of these drives that the group realized that the original source of waste is the Mithi river – a 18 km long river which is considered one of the most polluted rivers of India. This knowledge prompted them to clean up the Mithi river as well. Now they do weekly two-hour clean-ups in two locations – the Dadar beach on Saturday and the Mithi river on Sunday.
“When we started, we thought that it would be just a one-time thing. But then we realized that waste gets dumped every other day and it requires regular cleaning. We are proud to say that we have removed more than 1000 tonnes of trash so far,”- says the 21-year-old CA student who recently received the United Nations Volunteers India V-Award for his efforts.
The road ahead and challengesThe intiative, which started with 20-plus volunteers now gets participation from 100-plus volunteers after the group partnered with schools, colleges and corporates. Initially, only Malhar used to fund the campaign, but now, some core members (comprising mostly of his school mates who have been associated with the initiative from the beginning) contribute Rs 500 each. Volunteers are not charged a paisa for joining the efforts. With the addition of new volunteers every week, keeping up with costs have become difficult.
“Every volunteer is given a mask, a pair of gloves, buckets, absolutely free. Getting these supplies for more than 100 volunteers every week becomes costly. We also plan to get an excavator – a large machine that is used for digging and moving – that will make our work much easier. But renting it costs more than Rs 1 lakh every week. It could help us do 10 weeks’ worth of cleaning in 1 day!,”-Malhar.Malhar and his team plan to expand their cleaning operations to a third location in Mumbai soon. Their long-term plan is to cover all water bodies in India. They have the drive and the passion to make this a reality, but they need your support.
You can help them realize their dream of making India’s water bodies litter-free. Click here to support them