In the early hours of the morning, a bunch of volunteers worked hard to clean up beaches in Mumbai, as part of a three-day mega clean-up drive ahead of World Environment Day.

Dressed in tees, with gloves covering their hands, they collected waste that accumulated at the beach over the years. There were people of all ages for who a clean beach and surroundings matter.

Not all of the solid waste was openly visible to be picked up at will. Sometimes, it was found partly buried under the beach sand and needed extra effort to be pulled out. Occasionally, it meant using additional tools like shovels to pull out. At places where it is tough for the volunteers to remove the solid waste by hand, machines were used and the results could be seen immediately.

But the dedicated group of 2,100 volunteers were unfazed by the enormity of the challenge. After collection, the solid waste was lugged to a waste disposable vehicle standing nearby. The volunteers also helped to segregate the waste, which was then washed in water-laden drums so that some of it could be recycled.

At the end of the three-day mega cleaning drive, 15 tonnes of solid waste was removed from the beaches, thanks to the dedicated effort. Of that, an estimated two tonnes of recyclable plastic was transported to the recycling centres.

Four beaches across Mumbai – Dadar Suryavanshi Hall beach, Dadar Chaityabhoomi beach, Mahim and Versova beaches were adopted by Coca-Cola’s partner United Way Mumbai for community action under their ‘Clean Shores Mumbai’ campaign, a community-led initiative. The project aims to work towards enhancing the state of overall cleanliness of the city’s beaches and contribute towards mitigation of marine pollution and conservation of the marine eco-system.

For the past few years, lawyer and activist Afroz Shah has been leading a community initiative to clean beaches. His tireless effort over several years has won him international acclaim and recognition by the Prime Minister and other dignitaries from India.

Coca-Cola partnered with Jallosh, an initiative of Project Mumbai, to support a citywide clean-up of water bodies.

“Coca-Cola is committed to supporting the effort of the community for cleaning the beach. We can consider adopting more beaches in future, if the community so wants,” Rajesh Ayapilla, Director CSR at Coca-Cola India and South West Asia said.