Navunda beach is a very beautiful beach on the west coast of India. The sand is white, there are a lot of green coconut trees, the waves of the ocean are rolling in.
It is very calm, with some birds flying around. A small group of birds are walking on the beach, then they find something interesting, it is shining silver on one side and on the other side, very shiny colours. It is the old packaging of a candy. If you have a closer look they are spread all over the beach. One can find a lot of other waste as plastic bottles, plastic bags, packaging of chewing tobacco, straws, plastic cups, glass bottles, chappals, cords and much more.
One beach that looks like this is Navunda beach at the coast between Kundapur and Uppunda. The FSL-India team from the Sea Turtle Conservation project had visited this beach a few times already, to discuss with the fisherman community or the children of different schools about sea turtles. Every time, we saw all the waste, so we finally decided to start a beach cleaning action at this place.
On the 25th of January, around 20 volunteers and staff members of FSL-India, 50 students from VIII Std of the Navunda High School and 8 members of the Panchayat met at the beach. After breakfast that was sponsored by the Panchayat, everyone who wanted, took gloves and we spread the bags in which we put the collected waste. Then, we collected the waste in small groups and separated the glass and plastic bottles, so that the waste can be recycled easily. In the end, more than 20 local fisherman and some children joined us to clean the beach. They saw that it is also their responsibility to keep the beach clean. For this reason, we also installed some waste bags, so that there is an appropriate place to put the waste.
The reason why FSL-India organised this beach cleaning was not only to make the beach look nicer, but also to do something for the environment. There are many animals that will get a lot of problems because of the waste. One example are the sea turtles. When the female sea turtles come to the beaches to nest, they might not find a clean place where they can lay the nest, or they will get hurt by sharp materials. For hatchlings, it is even more dangerous because they can get stuck in the waste and die. If the waste gets into the sea, a sea turtle might eat it. Especially, plastic bags look like jellyfish – one of the main food for sea turtles, and once in the stomach, it can lead to death. If the beaches are cleaned from waste, all these problems can be prevented.
In conclusion, the beach cleaning was a great success and all the people that joined in had a lot of fun. FSL-India would like to thank everyone who helped us for their huge efforts to reach our goal of a clean beach. Cleaning one beach is only the beginning, but it is a step forward. We could create a lot of awareness to the local community and hope that they will make sure that their beach stays clean. We hope that all our efforts will have a positive effect and that we can organise a similar event soon.