Actress Bhumi Pednekar has always been a socially conscious actress and she has started a pan India campaign – Climate Warrior, to raise awareness on Environmental Conservation and Global Warming. Climate Warrior is a concerted social media initiative that Bhumi will use to highlight the incredible work done by tireless environmental activists and citizen groups across India. The first Climate Warrior being featured by Bhumi on her platform is the dynamic activist Afroz Shah, a young Indian lawyer from Mumbai, who is synonymous with the world’s largest beach clean-up project in Versova, Mumbai!
Bhumi and Afroz planned to meet on the Versova beach recently and they discussed the need for beach conservation in India. She also shot the elaborate work put in by Afroz and all the Mumbaikars to keep their beach clean. Of course, Bhumi too participated in the clean-up that lasted over 2 hours.
Talking about the episode, Bhumi says, “Versova beach clean-up is the largest beach clean-up in the world and I was proud to be a part of the exercise to raise awareness on climate preservation. What I saw has changed my life and I will continue to support Afroz in any and every way possible.”
In October 2015, Shah and his neighbour Harbansh Mathur were frustrated with the piles of decomposing waste that had washed up and completely overwhelmed the city’s Versova beach. Determined to do something about it, the pair started cleaning up the beach themselves, one piece of rubbish at a time.
Every weekend since, Shah has inspired volunteers to join him – from slum-dwellers to Bollywood stars, from schoolchildren to politicians. They have been turning up at Versova for what Shah calls “a date with the ocean”, but what in reality means labouring shin-deep in rotting garbage under the scorching Indian sun. So far, the volunteers have collected well over 4,000 tons of trash from the 2.5-kilometre beach.
Afroz has vowed to continue his beach clean-up crusade until people and their governments around the world change their approach to producing, using and discarding plastic and other products that wash up onto beaches all over the world.