Before-and-after pictures are a time-tested way to prove a point, whether they be for selling anti-baldness solutions, extolling the benefits of fat-free sandwiches or as a way to ascribe magical powers to anything sold on teleshopping networks. However, there's one specific case, originating from Mumbai, that lends itself better to the before-after template than perhaps anything else.
Versova beach, a 2.7 km stretch along one of Mumbai's most densely populated suburbs, should have been a jewel in the city's crown — a destination for people to enjoy endless space and indulge in beach-related activities which the megapolis sorely lacks. However, due to the accumulated filth of generations, it had become so polluted that it began to more closely resemble a sea of garbage rather than a sandy bank.
That was before citizens took matters into their own hands. Led by lawyer Afroz Shah a movement began in October 2015 and over the next 2 years, Versova beach was rid of thousands of tonnes of waste. The before-after pictures were mesmerising, as if a beach had been conjured to where a dump had previously lain.
The effort put in was stupendous, and gained recognition from both the Prime Minister of India as well as the United Nations. The citizens, however, are vigilant — they're aware that their work will all be for nought if they don't maintain Versova beach.
However, a new threat has now emerged. Hooliganism and the efforts of goons have caused the clean-up drive to be suspended for the first time in 109 weeks. And Afroz and team have received a tepid response from authorities.
The developments surrounding the Versova clean-up effort pose some critical questions which One India, an initiative by Facebook on Republic TV, will attempt to dissect. Tell us what you think about this titanic community effort and the challenges faced, specifically:
Who is responsible for keeping our surroundings clean? Only the government, or the common masses as well?
Whether it be over the release of a film, or over a clean-up effort, should India submit to the onslaught of hooliganism?
Watch the video above and fire in your views!