Remember Afroz Shah, the man who conducted the miraculous clean-up of Versova beach? He didn't stop there however. Most recently, he has been clearing the Mithi river of plastic waste.
For the last seven months, the Filterpada slum colony near Vihar Lake, from where Mithi originates has stopped dumping plastic into the river. According to the Mumbai Mirror, residents from 6000 homes in the colony collect plastic waste and hand it over to Shah and his team, who then send it to recycling units.
The path wasn't easy however, as it took 9 months of counselling and general discussions with the slum-dwellers to get them on board.
We started visiting the Filterpada slum colony every Sunday around 5 am, asking residents to just wash whatever plastic they had, such as milk packets and biscuit sachets, and keep these aside. Gradually we trained them into cleaning plastic and segregating waste. Now they’re completely involved in the campaign.
Shah convinced people to join the exercise by explaining the concept of 'circular economy', which focuses on minimising waste and making the most of resources.
Soiled and contaminated plastic is not accepted in recycling centres and they end up in landfills. Hence, it was important to train the residents to clean the milk pouches and other plastic waste that we can pick up every Sunday. This slum, housing around 30,000 people, is located near the spot where Mithi originates and without their support, the river cannot be cleaned.
Compared to earlier, the number of volunteers involved in the clean-up has increased considerably, and includes members of the Dawoodi Bohra community. Here's to hoping more people join this honest effort.