The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) awarded Afroz Shah UN’s top environmental accolade – Champions of the Earth award at Cancun in Mexico last December
On a rainy October morning in 2015, as city-based lawyer Afroz Shah looked out of his sea-facing apartment at Versova, the sight left him disturbed. Every wave crashing against the shore brought piles of garbage, so much that the sand on the beach was not visible anymore. He then took it upon himself to make a difference.
Sixty nine weeks later, 33-year-old Shah drew the world’s attention by removing 4,500 tonnes of trash from Versova beach, cleaning 52 toilets and removing trash from creeks with local residents and fishermen.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) called it the world’s largest beach clean-up in history and awarded Shah UN’s top environmental accolade – Champions of the Earth award at Cancun in Mexico, last December making him the first Indian to achieve such a feet.
“There is a difference between sitting within closed spaces and making policy decisions for an environmentally sustainable future and actually going to the ground, digging your hands in the dirt and separating the plastic from the sand. I chose the latter,” said Shah.