Two days after Mumbai lawyer Afroz Shah said on Twitter that he will stop cleaning the Versova Beach – a clean-up movement he has led for two years – political leaders, including the Maharashtra chief minister and the Mumbai mayor, rallied to support him. He had stopped the initiative after facing threats from local goons and getting little support from the administration.
On November 19, Shah wrote on Twitter: “World’s largest beach cleanup is suspended. Tried my best and I failed. Forgive me, my ocean and my country.”
Two days later, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said he has spoken to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis about the matter, the Hindustan Times reported.
On Thursday, Fadnavis met Shah, and Yuva Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray took the lawyer to meet Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, The Times of India reported. The mayor promised that vehicles will be sent to clear the plastic that is picked up.
“Shah told me about how addicts were creating a problem in their cleaning,” Mahadeshwar told the newspaper. “The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is already keeping the beach clean, and any additional help is welcome and we will provide help.”
Shah, however, told the Hindustan Times that he stood by his decision to suspend the cleanup drives at the beach. “I have not told anyone that the cleanup drive will resume,” he said. “I don’t want to take a call until the ground reality doesn’t change. It will only become a cyclical process, where citizens clean the beach, but there is no follow-up action.”
He pointed to how the civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, was not helping with the waste management. The BMC, however, told the Hindustan Times that the waste was being removed.