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Malhar Kalambe’s Beach Please India is Making a Clean Sweep of Mumbai’s Coastline

One look at any of Mumbai’s beaches and the reaction is of disgust. But one passionate environmental enthusiast, Malhar Kalambe, is changing the environment as well as the city’s image with like-minded people.

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Srushti Pathak
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Malhar Kalambe

Bambai Se Aaya Mera Dost, usko pucho beaches saaf hai kya?” Be it Juhu, Versova or Girgaum Chowpatty, the general consensus is that these places are dirty. While the reasons are endless, there are some who are focused on the solution. Malhar Kalambe is one of the many environmental activists who is raising awareness about plastic pollution and promoting environmental conservation with his venture, Beach Please India. Recently, his initiative Mithi River Clean Up did a wonderful job. Kalambe, along with actress Jacqueline Fernandez and 50 Volunteers helped clean tons of Garbage from Mithi Nadi. They cleaned up to 4000 kg of waste from the river. 

Local Samosa connected with Malhar Kalambe to know more about Beach Please India, the Mithi River Clean Up drive and the future of Mumbai’s coastline.

Mithi River Clean Up
Image Courtesy: Beach Please India

The Start of Beach Please India

"I had planned on doing CA and had also cleared the foundation exam but my trip to Bali turned out to be a turning point of my life both personally and professionally. To be honest, it was nothing planned when I first did it. I had thought I would clean the beach once and it would be cleaned forever! But sooner I was hit with the reality that it was a never-ending job and that’s when I decided to drop out of CA and turn into a full-time environmentalist.

At 19, I went on a trip to Bali with some of my friends and on returning I noticed the difference between the beaches abroad and that of India. Later, I was ranting about it to my mom and she simply said “if you find the beaches dirty, go and clean them”. This simple sentence from her was the reason why Beach Please was born."

The Dadar Beach Clean-up Drive

We asked him about his first project, the Dadar Beach Clean Up drive. He said, "The initial clean-up was a school reunion with my friends. 20 of us gathered at the beach to clean it, for once and for all! We did clear a lot of waste but what we discovered and learnt was that with the high-tide more and more waste would come to the shore. It also came to our notice that you cannot conduct a clean-up drive during a high-tide which was a mistake we had made. But nevertheless, the 1st driver was a teacher that wrote the success for Beach Please later."

#MithiRiverCleanUp Project

"In the early days of Beach Please, we shifted the location from the Dadar Beach to the Mithi river since it was the polluted Mithi river that led to the pollution of the Dadar Beach and ultimately the oceans of the world. Also, Mithi is an utmost important river for a coastal city like Mumbai and hence cleaning it would solve many problems of the city, especially that faced during the monsoon. Since the place was full of trash earlier and due to the lack of awareness regarding the river it was very difficult to bring in volunteers for the drive. But gradually with the support of the people #TheMithiRiverCleanUp project is doing well."

The Influence of Celebrities

Actress Jacqueline Fernandez was a part of the Mithi River Clean Up project and when asked about it, Kalambe said, "Celebrities are a role model for many, especially the youth. Since Beach Please is a youth driven community, having a celebrity to support you in the initiative creates a positive impact. It helps the campaign reach a maximum audience and spread awareness about such environmental problems at a larger level."

The Current State of Oceans

The oceans of the world are at a greater risk due to rising water temperatures which is a result of global warming causing harm to both marine as well as human species. Also, the plastic accumulation in the water bodies is increasing day-by-day causing even greater harm. "Surely, there is a lack of awareness among the people, which I believe altogether is a different issue. In my opinion many of the problems would be solved if the common man is well aware and known to his surroundings.", says Malhar.



How to Foster Positive Environmental Changes

As citizens of the country and the only habitable planet as of now, it is our responsibility to preserve the environment as well. Kalambe stated, "It is all about the lifestyle. A simple change in the lifestyle of the individual would bring manifold changes in the overall conditions of the environment. Saying “no” to single-use-plastic and following the 3 Rs, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, segregating the waste at micro level are some of the basic and necessary habits that humans need to inculcate in their daily lives." 

Government Policies and Their Efficacy

"I believe the government is doing their part in limiting the use of plastic. For instance, the Maharashtra Government had banned single-use-plastic in 2018, but we still see this kind of plastic everywhere around us. I think it is ‘us’ who are lacking behind in implementing such policies and measures. In a democracy like India, where people’s participation is the must, the citizens must put hand-in-hand with the government in order for the effective and efficient running of the government.", says the founder of Beach Please, India.

Major Challenges that Affect Beach Please India

Malhar mentions, "One of the major challenges faced even today, after 6.5 years is that of bringing up volunteers every weekend. Though the volunteers have supported us immensely throughout the journey and have stood by us during the high and low times, it at times demotivates the team as well as sometimes me, when the volunteers do not turn up. Especially on events like the one held recently on the World Environment Day lack of volunteers creates an atmosphere of dismay. At times funds have been a huge hurdle in keeping up with the clean up drives."

Can Policies and Regulations Bring Substantial Changes?

According to Kalambe, The government needs to take stricter actions against those polluting the river bodies and the environment at large. The ban on plastic must be taken seriously both by the authorities and the citizens. Penalties and fines must be imposed and measure must be taken to clean the water bodies. Also, a must necessary action is the segregation of waste and the recycling of the used plastic till date.

The Aftereffects of Winning the National Creators Award 2024

Malhar Kalambe won the National Creators Award 2024 for Sustainable Creator of the Year. Talking about it, he said, "The National Creators Award was presented to individuals who have contributed to the welfare of the country in some way or the other. I believe both, the clean-up drives and the content that we put up have created a positive impact in the society leading our way to this precious award. The award will definitely act as a motivation not only for me but the entire team and the volunteers. It would also be a motivation to all the people doing clean-ups across the nation and the people who work for the protection and the conservation of the environment."

 

environmental activists Beach Please India Malhar Kalambe Mithi River Clean Up Dadar Beach Clean Up Jacqueline Fernandez National Creators Award 2024