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Wading through trash - The impossible thing one man did when he discovered a beach drowning in garbage

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It was a labor worthy of Hercules.

What would you do if you went to the beach and found it was covered in so much garbage, you could drown in plastic before reaching the water? This was the scene one High Court lawyer in Mumbai encountered when he decided to visit the beach. Instead of sand and water, he encountered a sea of plastic, 4.5 feet high, as far as his eye could see.

The sea of trash was so deep, a person could drown in it.

The sea of trash was so deep, a person could drown in it.


By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Catholic Online (
5/30/2017 (7 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Afroz Shah, Vervosa Beach, India, garbage, clean

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- Afroz Shah, 33, a lawyer for the Bombay High Court, needed to relax. He made a logical choice, to venture to the beach. When he arrived, the sight was ghastly. A 4.5-foot-high sea of plastic waste and other garbage littered the beach as far as he could see.

Instead of wading through the garbage as so many other people did, he started picking it up and getting rid of it. Thus, began a labor worthy of Hercules.

For the next 85 weeks, Shah hit the beach and cleared away rubbish. It was a task no single man could complete, so he was quickly joined by concerned friends. Those friends brought friends and soon the public noticed.

Vervosa Beach before the cleanup.

Vervosa Beach before the cleanup.

Vervosa Beach, as it was properly called, had been used as a makeshift dump for decades. The currents out to sea also had the unfortunate effect of washing plastic up onto the beach, adding to the growing heaps. The trash became so bad, anyone who wanted to reach the water had to wade through the garbage, a nasty endeavor. Most people simply avoided the beach, and its smell.

But as Shah began to clear a patch of sand, and others took notice, the activity became a fad for the locals. After several months, strangers joined the effort. They were followed by groups and an army of concerned citizens. As word of the deed spread, Shah was joined by other businesses and even Bollywood stars.

After 85 weeks of labor, piling, sorting and hauling off trash, Vervosa beach looks like a tourist destination, and not a dump. The transformation was so remarkable, the United Nations Environment Program recognized Shah for removing 5,000 tonnes of litter. The effort employed over 1,000 volunteers.

Afroz Shah started the cleanup in 2015, all by himself.

Afroz Shah started the cleanup in 2015, all by himself.

Now the beach is available for the public to enjoy and thus far, remains pristine.

The effort shows what a dedicated group of concerned citizens can accomplish when they decide to act for themselves. It reveals the power of just one person to start a movement that makes a difference.

Vervosa Beach today is beautiful once again, as God intended.

Vervosa Beach today is beautiful once again, as God intended.

There are many beaches in India, and most of them are remarkably beautiful. But Vervosa beach is beautiful not just because it is ocean view, but because it is a place where thousands of people came together to fix a problem and make the world a better place for all.


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