Sea Turtles Return to Mumbai For the First Time in 20 Years

Residents in Mumbai were surprised to see baby sea turtles in Versova beach for the first time in nearly two decades.

Versova beach was once considered one of the dirtiest beaches in Mumbai, but in 2015, lawyer and environmentalist Afroz Shah launched a major beach cleanup.

“I shifted to my new apartment two years back and saw plastic on the beach — it was 5.5 feet high. A man could drown in the plastic,” Shah told CNN last May. “I said I’m going to come on the field and do something. I have to protect my environment and it requires ground action.”

Shah began the effort with his neighbor and over time was joined by hundreds of others, from school children to politicians and celebrities who took part in the effort, which the United Nations declared the “world’s largest beach clean-up in history.”

Over a period of 21 months, volunteers removed 11 million pounds of trash from the 1.5 mile stretch of beach, dramatically transforming the shoreline.

Now, conservationists and residents are celebrating something miraculous coming from all their work with the sighting of olive ridley sea turtle hatchlings.

The newborns were spotted at Versova beach headed toward the Arabian sea by volunteers who were out participating in a beach cleanup.

Wildlife officials were notified and came to the scene to ensure the safety of the new arrivials. Officials said they would be watching the area around the clock, and would stop any activities that could potentially disturb the sea turtles.

“We found around 90-95 olive ridley hatchlings… and the volunteers safely released them to the sea,” Prashant Deshmukh, an environmental officer with the Maharashtra state government, told the AFP. “The turtles  have returned to Mumbai’s coastline after nearly 20 years. This is big news and the clean-up drive seems to be yielding results.”

Hopefully efforts to protect this beach and keep it clean will continue, drawing more sea turtles back and will also create a habitat for other wildlife. In addition to the cleanup, Shah and his team are working to plant more than 5,000 coconut trees to help restore what was originally a coconut lagoon.

“Extremely elated the olive ridley turtles are back and it is a sign that things are improving. We need to do more to protect the ocean and other species including turtles,” Shah told the AFP.

If you want to join or lead a beach cleanup in your area, check out this Care2 article.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

109 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y23 days ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y23 days ago

thanks

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John J
John J23 days ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J23 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Marie W
Marie W8 months ago

Thanks!!

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KimJ ManyIssues
KimJ ManyIssuesabout a year ago

tfs

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KimJ ManyIssues
KimJ ManyIssuesabout a year ago

tfs

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KimJ ManyIssues
KimJ ManyIssuesabout a year ago

tfs

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KimJ ManyIssues
KimJ ManyIssuesabout a year ago

Yay!! Let`s hope the great work continues :)

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KimJ ManyIssues
KimJ ManyIssuesabout a year ago

tfs

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