Malhar Kalambe, the 21-year-old resident of Mumbai who cleaned the Dadar beach and started a “Beach Please’ clean-up movement, has recently bagged the prestigious UN award.
As a robust initiative for collecting trash from Dadar beach, the movement garnered considerable attention, engaging more than 20,000 people.
Talking about the idea behind the movement, Malhar said, “I have lived in the city for two decades. I have realised that the power to make a city better or worse lies with us. We cannot keep blaming the government authorities. It was during the Ganesh Visarjan when I saw how people are destroying the water bodies without giving any thought. I wanted to bring a change and that is how ‘Beach Please’ was born.”
Supported by UNICEF, the award acknowledges the efforts of young people for making this world a better place for all. Expressing his gratitude with an aim of working harder in the future, Kalambe said, “This is the first award I have ever received, so it is very special for me. This award is a reminder that there is a lot to be done, and my cause is not limited to a beach. I am humbled and overjoyed to get recognition from such a prestigious organisation.”
Along with the felicitation, the UN authorities conducted a workshop during the event focusing on the ways to widen the impact of such movements and increase the involvement of people.
“They taught us about how to retain volunteers, and at the same time, engage new people. It is, by far, my biggest challenge. The same volunteers do not come every weekend. So, now my team and I have started to approach different colleges and corporates every week,” adds Malhar.
In his attempt to encourage cleanliness drives, Malhar also came up with his second mission of cleaning the Mithi river near the Mahim causeway. “The 18-km river is one of the most polluted rivers in Mumbai. 70 per cent of the river has settlements that dump waste directly into the river. The river is connected to the beach and all the refuse gets deposited in the beach,” he said.