For the first time in decades, hatchlings from a vulnerable turtle species – Olive Ridley’s – were spotted at a Mumbai beach. This comes as result of the ongoing cleanup operation started by a massive volunteer group.
At least 80 Olive Ridley turtles made their way into the Arabian Sea from nests on the southern end of Versova beach in the past week. Volunteers present protected the turtles from wild dogs and birds of prey by volunteers.
The Versova beach has been transformed from a rubbish dump, to a nearly untouched coastline and the sight of it is breathtaking!
Due to contributing factors like rapid urbanisation, overpopulation and a general neverminded attitude to public spaces (specifically littering), polluted waterways and beaches is one of India’s major plagues.
About 55,000 people live along the beach and the waterways that feed into it in the crowded megacity.
Lawyer Afroz Shah, is the brainchild behind the ongoing cleanup operation. When he started out in 2015, he had trouble finding people to join his operation, but volunteers soon jumped on board.
Says Shah: “For the first six to eight weeks, nobody joined. Then two men approached me and said, very politely, ‘Please sir, can we wear your gloves?’ Both of them just came and joined me. That’s when I knew it was going to be a success.”