Kutch is a fascinating creation of nature where deserts, lovely seashores, grasslands, swimming camels and the world famous flamingo city coexist. Between this is the exotic Mandvi beach south of district headquarters Bhuj, which draws tourists by the thousands and the garbage they throw around.
Upset over the junk strewn around on the scenic beach, two youngsters decided to do something about it a couple of years ago. They did the most elementary — and tough — thing: Started collecting garbage with their hands and dumping it into the Mandvi Municipality’s pickup vans.
By now, they call themselves ‘Secure Nature’ Group with 25 active members and around 100-odd occasionally joining the clean Mandvi Beach campaign. And in two years, hold your breath, they have collected a staggering 250 metric tonne of garbage.
Not only this, they have just moved to the next level of recycling waste into decorative items. For instance, trashed bottles are being converted into vases or stones being cut into shapely pieces.
“We’ve been running Drive 102 Weeks in the name of ‘Secure Nature,” Uday Dhakan, a member of the group, told Vibes of India. He says the drive has 25 active members, with approximately 100 new members joining occasionally.
He said, “This concept was suggested to us by Yashesh Shah and Dharmik Bhattnam. Mandvi is a popular tourist destination, attracting thousands of visitors each year. Tourists continue to arrive, have fun and throw garbage. If we go for a morning walk, we will see trash all around. Even if the administration is doing its job, the number of tourists increases and so does the trash. So they started this.”
He stated that these members used to do daily cleaning in the morning, and then others would join in and continue this on weekends. This is within the government’s authority, but the government cannot reach everywhere. “Our Mandvi town is on the beach, so we drove to Kashi Vishwanath Beach, then to Dhirodhan Dungar, Kalo Dungar, Chopansar Lake in Mandvi town, and started clearing the garbage in the lake,” he adds.
The group devotes three hours per week for this week. Most members are from Mandvi, with a few from elsewhere and three boys from Madhapar in Bhuj are a part. The young men and women are studying, working, and running a small business. Uday Dhakan, 33, is a commerce graduate and owns a coffee shop in Mandvi.
The weekly drive collects 3-4 metric tonnes of waste, and the group has collected approximately 250 metric tonnes of undecomposed waste from beaches and other tourist destinations. Earlier, all this waste was sent to the dumping yard of Mandvi Municipality, now a member of this group Bhumi Dubal, who comes from a design background, has started recycling and making decorative items from plastics.