Lawyer-activist Afroz Shah has been trying to clear up the garbage off the Versova Beach for more than 2 years now. And after 109 weeks of mind-boggling leadership and activism, Shah has suspended the clean-up citing abusive goons and the government's lack of cooperation.
Single-handedly inspiring change, Shah brought together responsible citizens from the area across all ages. Even celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan have taken part in the initiative.
Hollywood actor Leonardo Di Caprio even shared this Instagram post about the amount of trash on one of Mumbai's most stunning beaches, thanks to the clean-up initiative started by Shah.
#Regram #RG @UNEP: Versova Beach, #India. This weekend UNEP Patron of the Oceans @LewisPugh1 is taking part in what is likely the largest beach clean-up in history. The Versova Resident Volunteers working to clean this beach in Mumbai have cleared nearly 2 million kg of trash in the last ten months and their incredible collective effort shows no signs of stopping. #environment #cleanseas #inspiration #environnement #medioambiente #meioambiente
When contacted for a comment, Shah sounded awfully broken about the ground realities of the situation to continue his voluntary campaign.
I've failed myself, and I've failed this country. We had begun this campaign against the mind-set of littering in public spaces. And if this kind of institutional lethargy is the feedback for the work of thousands of volunteers over 2 years, then I have failed as an individual.
he told ScoopWhoop, citing that municipal bodies had failed to do their job in the past few weeks.
When asked about the goons, Shah said,
It had been going on for the past 4-6 weeks, where some men would threaten our guy operating the JCB tractor with bamboo sticks, and hurling abuses at the others. If I and others like me are going to be heckled for something our voluntary efforts, then where are we going as a country?
Will the suspension be revoked by him and other volunteers, considering that the government finally gets his act together, Shah says,
See, we're ready to do the work. But for that to happen the lethargy and the mind-set would require a sea-change. As of now, the situation is fluid.
It's difficult to imagine a situation where our country is even intolerant to volunteers. Maybe that's why we don't deserve anything/anyone nice.