Mumbaikars gathered to join the beach clean-up drive, led by Afroz Shah, winner of the Champion of the Earth award, at Versova beach. Present to support the cause were Dr Harshvardhan, Union Minister, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, Erik Solheim, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Head of UN Environment and Aditya Thackeray, President of Yuva Sena. United Way Mumbai, the community impact partner, along with Coca-Cola India joined the movement by the citizens of Mumbai and announced the symbolic adoption of four high footfall beaches in Mumbai including Versova.

‘Clean Shores Mumbai’ is a special community impact initiative which aims at enhancing the state of overall cleanliness of the city beaches and contribute towards mitigation of marine pollution and conservation of marine ecosystem through strategic and sustained interventions enabled by public-private partnership. By supporting this program, United Way Mumbai and Coca-Cola India will help improve local collection of waste by setting up infrastructure for cleanliness, raise consumer awareness and support adoption of improved waste management practices.

The event received support from the Government of Maharashtra and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. Almost 5,000 volunteers including corporate employees, government officials, citizen volunteers and students joined the beach clean-up drive.

Commenting on the occasion, Afroz Shah, said, “The problem of marine debris is huge and is not only confronting Mumbai but the entire humanity. All stakeholders i.e. government, citizens, plastic manufacturers, consumers of plastic and users of plastic will have to join hands to tackle the problem of marine debris. No one organization or individual can do enough—concerted, collaborative, systematic, sincere and persistent efforts will yield the desired results of a clean and healthy ocean. Environmental protection should not be an event. Coca-Cola and United way’s involvement in these efforts will give impetus to handle the problem of marine litter.”

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Speaking on the occasion, Ishteyaque Amjad, Vice-President, Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, said, “The Coca-Cola Company has pledged to collect and recycle the equivalent of 100% of its packaging by 2030. We believe that this goal can be achieved by adopting a collaborative approach and engaging with the Government and communities. The adoption of four beaches in Mumbai in collaboration with United Way Mumbai reaffirms our long-term commitment to develop capacity, educate communities, and encourage sustainable waste management. Very recently our bottling partner Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. launched a circular waste segregation project in 10 wards of Mumbai.”

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Jayanti Shukla, Chief Executive Officer, United Way Mumbai, added, “India is addressing plastic pollution this World Environment Day. We’re playing our part by offering solutions to address plastic waste and marine littering problems at Mumbai beaches through our tried and tested Collective Community Impact model. Sustainable solutions to global waste problems can be achieved through collaboration between Government, industry, and communities. Each and every one of us has a role to play in keeping this planet habitable and free of litter.”