"I am an ocean lover and feel that we owe a duty to our ocean to make it free of plastic. I just hope this is the beginning for the coastal communities across India and the World". Advocate Afroz Shah, a young associate at Mumbai high court, who took the initiative to clean the world's largest beach, Versova in Mumbai, started this mission in 2015. Slowly people started joining him and this turned into a people's movement towards cleanliness. For this wonderful initiative, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) awarded him with the 'Champion of the Earth' award.
He visited our school on 28th July as a chief guest on the occasion of the twelfth Sara Mathew Memorial Lecture on "The Road less travelled". In his speech , Mr.Shah spoke about how Industrial Revolution has brought a big change in our lives.He said ,"Industrial revolution has moulded the way our world works today. These changes made big differences to our lives and working methods." "We have started living a life of convience, we have all the facility and ability to make our life easier,but this in turn is destroying us and as well as our environment." He futher said " people need to change their mindset on environment and learn the importance of having a clean environment ."To bring such change in the world every individual needs to stand for their environment and take up the duty of a leader. A leader who influences and inspires others.
"Make an agenda for 'zero garbage' and take it as your personal journey and start working on it from your house", he said. He raised a narrative called 'It's me', which means, we are the ones who litter and it is our responsibility to clean up. The responsibility doesn't lie on the government or the judiciary, but on us .He also stated that a single person can bring a huge change if he or she is determined to do so. At last he said, "become a young champion of your environment and work on sustainable development for a clean and a bright future so that our coming generation can live in a safe and a clean environment". We have to join the race and make our villages, towns and cities cleaner. We have to inspire and encourage others around us to work for the betterment of the environment just the way Mr.Shah has. He made us believe that we too can become champions of the earth and make this world a better place to live. Why should we wait for someone else to come and teach us how to live in clean and litter-free environments when we ourselves can become the leaders and trailblazers of the future? As Gandhi said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." We should imbibe these ideas into our minds and endeavour to bring the earth back. "Don't blow it- Good planets are hard to find" - Times Magazine.