Dawoodi Bohras join river, beach-cleaning spree in Mumbai
Team of 15-members from the community will assist environmentalist Afroz Shah in the drive
After undertaking a massive clean-up of the Versova beach, lawyer-turned environmentalist Afroz Shah is now all set to rid the 18-kilometre-long Mithi River and Dana Paani beach in Malad of toxic plastic waste as part of a campaign —Turning the Tide. Apart from the thousands of volunteers who have come forward to help him in the initiative, for the first time the Dawoodi Bohra community has pledged to be a part of it too.
According to Shah, it would take at least five years to clean up the Mithi River, which extends from Vehar Lake to BKC. As part of the long-term commitment that the Dawoodi Bohra community has made towards the cause, at least 15 members of the group would participate in the cleaning process every weekend.
"During monsoon, the Mithi River usually cleans itself, but we want to prevent the plastic waste from flowing into the ocean. The Dawoodi Bohra community is already doing their bit to protect the environment, and now they will help us clean Mumbai's water bodies," Shah said.
Taikhoom Mohiyuddin, trustee of the Burhani Foundation said that this cause was not new for the religious group. "It is rooted in the core beliefs of our religion. His holiness (Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin) has mentioned it in sermons in the past. Our community believes in holistic cleaning up of the environment and of the inner self as well," he said.
He added that the initiative of encouraging the community to participate in the clean-up activities has been received well and many are eager to take part in it. The campaign was promoted for five days through messages, e-mails and announcements during the sermons. Mohiyuddin said the leaders of the 20 Dawoodi Bohra centres in the city would select the members, who would then participate in the cleaning activities on a weekly basis, which is expected to start from December.
Awareness is important
Apart from cleaning the water bodies, Mohiyuddin said that it was also important to create awareness about the hazards of plastic pollution. "As discussed with Shah, he will conduct special sessions with the community school students to spread awareness and educate them on ways to reduce the use of plastic," he said, adding that plastic waste disposal units would also be set up at schools and community centres.
The aim is to reach out to the 50 lakh people who live along the banks of Mithi River and train them to connect with nature and reduce plastic pollution. Shah said. After freeing the water bodies of the solid waste, he would deal with liquid waste. "Local sewage treatment plants need to be set up to ensure that neutral water returns to the river," he said.
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