The largest shore cleanup in the planet would be a benefit by itself. But for spearheading it, Mumbai-based attorney Afroz Shah continues to be named as one of Victor of the best environmental honour of the United Nations. Shah will soon be among those bestowed together with the Victor of the Earth award for leading the cleanup of the Versova Beach in Mumbai.
The movement grew and grew within the last year and picked up a whopping 4,000 short tonnes of garbage.
"Shah's attempts, along with the numerous volunteers he's inspired, is a wonderful example of citizen activity and reminds the remainder of the planet that even the most challenging, international arrangements are just as great as the individual actions and drive that brings them to life. His excellent leadership is bringing global awareness of the devastating impacts of marine litter," said United Nations Environment Project (UNEP) chief Erik Solheim, who'd joined Shah in the cleaning for a day in October.
The United Nations Patron of the Oceans, Lewis Pugh, too, congratulated Shah in Twitter. "So pleased that Afroz Shah has won the UN's highest award for his unbelievable efforts to scrub Mumbai's beaches!!" he tweeted.
Pugh has for long hailed the Versova clean-up as the 'biggest beach cleaning in history'. He previously made it a place to go to with Mumbai and take part in the clean-up in July.
I'm an ocean lover and feel that people owe a duty to our ocean to allow it to be free of plastic," said Shah included in the statement on the UNEP website.
"I just hope this is the beginning of coastal communities across India as well as the world - we have to win the fight against marine dumping, and that involves getting our hands dirty. We people have to reignite our bond with the ocean, and we don't have to wait for anybody else to help us do that," he added.
Shah and his 84-year old neighbour, Harbansh Mathur, had started picking up garbage off the beach in July 2015. This grew into a movement, with a rising number of volunteers, outliving Mathur.