Volunteers of a clean-up team in Vasai find oil patches across local beaches
A volunteer inspects oil patches at the Vasai beach
Four injured Olive Ridley turtles and a dead Green sea turtle were washed ashore on the west coast of Mumbai in June. Over half a dozen similar incidents were reported in July. Now, volunteers of a group, which has been working tirelessly every weekend to clean the Vasai beaches, have found traces of oil in several parts of the coastline, which points at a probable oil spill.
The weekly Clean Vasai beaches initiative, modeled on a similar activity at Versova beach, has over 50 volunteers collecting and segregating garbage strewn across the coastline. A brainchild of Hungarian environmentalist Zsuzsanna Ferrao and her husband, Lisbon Ferrao, the campaign began in April. According to members of this group, the beaches at Bhuigain and Rangaon are two of their primary focus areas as these spots attract a lot of tourists.
Speaking to mid-day, one of the volunteers, Yash Marwah said, "This Sunday, when we started cleaning the Bhuigaon beach, we found extensive patches of oil-soaked sand. It appears there's been an oil spill nearby, which may also be the reason why so many marine creatures have been washing ashore in the last few months."
Garbage strewn Bhuigain beach
Referring to the water pollution, Zsuzsanna said, "Over the past few months, we have created social media blogs to create awareness about sea pollution and how it is affecting our marine creatures. Irresponsible human activities such as littering, especially plastic goods and bottles, in the ocean are harming our sea animals. It's astounding how much garbage is dumped on beaches. We collect nearly 250 kg of trash every weekend. But, now we have come across a possible oil spill, which the local authorities don't seem to be aware about."
Repeated calls to the Vasai forest department went unanswered.
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