More than 125 students and locals removed 2,500 kg or 2.5 tonnes of trash — mostly comprising alcohol bottles — from Bhivpuri Waterfall near Ashane village, almost 90 km from Mumbai.
Mumbai NGO Environment Life, which has completed clean-up drives at eight waterfalls near Nerul — Anandwadi, Jummpatti, Tapalwadi, Khopoli–Zenith, Vasai–Chinchoti, Kondeshwar and Pandavkada — requested Mumbaiites and Ashane villagers to refrain from disposing of trash at these tourist sites.
Garbage damages local ecosystems and threatens plant and animal life. Bottles made of glass or plastic can injure animals, who may also fall sick if they consume other types of garbage.
“It was difficult to collect so many alcohol bottles, despite being helped by more than 5,000 people. We filled 120 large bags with litter by the end,” said Dharmesh Barai, head coordinator, Environment Life. “However, this comprises just 10% of the trash at the waterfall,” he added.
Locals also collected wafer packets, straws, thermocol plates, spoons and even pieces of cloth during the drive. They told HT that villagers get injured passing through these areas daily, owing to the discarded bottles.
“We want a complete ban on drinking at these waterfalls. Our children are not allowed to go to these places as several villagers have returned with severe injuries. We request visitors to not bring alcohol here as it is affecting our livelihood,” said Sopan Thange, a resident of Ashane village.
Barai filed a complaint with the state government demanding a complete ban on liquor consumption at waterfall tourist spots. “People are willing to visit such places but are unwilling to forego carrying plastic bottles, wafers packets and liquor bottles. The leftover trash from these outings creates pollution, disturbs nature, disturbs animals and birds, and injuries locals. Additionally, there is a high chance of accidents taking place when alcohol is involved,” he said.