Meet Rabia Tewari whose Remarkable Efforts Transformed the Look of the Bleak Mahim Beach
3 October 2018
Very few people today care about the environment and take steps to maintain it. Meet Rabia Tewari, who along with her husband Indranil went on to clean Mahim beach in Mumbai. Mahim beach reminds us of the dismal state of our oceans. The oceans today are filled with plastic along with other toxic and non-toxic waste which makes living conditions near the seaside area deplorable and unhygienic.
Rabia was a merchandiser in New York for 12 years before she moved to Mumbai in the year 2011. Her husband, Indranil Sengupta was a former Viacom18 Associate Vice-President, and now he runs his own Design Firm. Both of them have been married for over seven years.
It all began when Rabia Tewari and her husband Indranil Sengupta moved to a sea-facing flat in Mahim, Mumbai in July 2017. They were extremely saddened to see that the entire beach was covered with layers of plastic waste deeply embedded in the sand. Although they called the BMC helpline a couple of times, there was no change in the deplorable condition of the beach.
Without wasting further time, Rabia and Indranil decided to start cleaning the beach themselves and so they began cleaning it every weekend in September 2017. It was a physically daunting task, but the urge to keep the beach clean made Rabia accept this challenge.
Rabia narrates to us the difficulties that she faced while cleaning the beach.
She says, “Compared to the plastic scattered on the surface of the beach, it was far more challenging to remove the plastic buried deep within the sand. But we refused to give up.”
When people started noticing their initiative #MahimBeachCleanUp, more and more volunteers started joining them and they also got active assistance from the BMC. They are amazed to see how teamwork can help achieve the impossible. They are also working on how some of this plastic waste can be recycled so that there is lesser dumping in the landfills. The UN Environment felicitated them earlier this year for their efforts and hard work.
Rabia also told us that the root cause of this garbage is the daily influx of waste from the Mithi River, which currently has no filtration system. So all the domestic and toxic waste goes directly into the sea thus making it polluted. Mahim Beach is located next to the Mithi outlet, so the majority of the waste eventually accumulates on this beach.
They have been following up with the authorities on the installation of a filtration system or mesh at the Mithi outlet, but have not been able to get a definite time frame for execution yet
Through the beach clean-up activity, Rabia tries to spread awareness about protecting the environment by keeping it clean and also the importance of recycling. She wants people to be aware of the health hazards of plastic pollution. She believes that the environment is something that we all share, so keeping it clean should be a collective effort.
She says that “As responsible citizens, we all need to take ownership and consider it our social responsibility to keep our public places clean.”
Rabia believes that change in mindsets, rethinking how we use and recycle plastic can help save the environment from further damage. It’s also important to keep public places clean like our homes.
After one year of Rabia and Indranil’s continual efforts, Mahim Beach is cleaner and finally beginning to show its beautiful, original colour. They conduct a clean-up every weekend and have managed to remove 7,00,000 kilos of waste from Mahim beach.
The beach now doubles up as a playground for the local kids after their weekly clean-ups. Rabia hopes to encourage people to actively engage with their surroundings and make a difference in their own way.
A quote, which Rabia deeply believes in: “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it” – Robert Swan (Polar Explorer & Environmentalist)
The single-handed initiative taken by Rabia and her husband truly inspires millions of people to keep the environment safe and clean.
For more details follow #MahimBeachCleanUp on :
Team WOC wishes Rabia and Indranil good luck for their future endeavours.
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