‘Mo Beach’ Campaign Kicks Off At Puri

The holy place of Puri witnesses a flock of tourists year-round. Home to Lord Jagannath, the place attracts visitors due to the historic temple as well as the beautiful beach. Due to large footfalls, the beach is left with large amounts of litter. Plastic cups and bottles, aluminium cans, plastic plates, are carelessly thrown by tourists even though written warnings are put up on the beach premises.

To tackle this, the government had recently launched a ‘Mo Beach’ campaign which will aim to clean up all the beaches in and around Puri. This cleanliness drive has now officially begun, with dozens of beaches along the district’s coast is being taken up with the help of local volunteers, students, officials, senior citizens, and local shopkeepers. The campaign aims not only at cleaning the beaches but also to inculcate a sense of belongingness and ownership among the local bodies, residents and visitors.

“Beaches form the first line of defence against growing sea levels, cyclones and tsunamis. At the same time, beaches are the most desired tourist attraction. If appropriate measures are not taken to protect, preserve and promote the beaches in a sustainable manner the whole ecosystem would suffer severe irreversible damage. I realised a massive state-sponsored clean-up campaign was necessary,” said Balwant Singh, Puri district collector.

The campaign commenced in the last week of June, with around 2000 volunteers picking up plastic waste, sanitary napkins, scraps of paper, torn clothes, liquor bottles, beer and soft drink cans from the beaches between 6 am and 9 am on Tuesdays. Already more than 250 quintals of waste from 19 places along the shoreline have been collected and disposed of. People from all walks of life are joining, including members from panchayat raj institutions, SHG workers, ASHA workers, government employees, NCC and Scouts/Guide members, small vendors and hoteliers along the beach and NGOs.

The volunteers are given gloves and masks during the garbage pick-up. The spots are decided after a round of scouting. The project is divided into two phases – the first phase targets at cleanliness, whereas the second phase targets sustainability, and maintenance.

“Various measures are in place to spread awareness among users and strong enforcement is taking place including heavy penalties for littering in public areas,” said Susanta Nanda, project director of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project.

Renowned sand artist, and campaign ambassador, Sudarshan Pattnaik, is delighted with the motive. “Till now several initiatives have been taken for improvement of specific beaches in and around Puri town, but for the first time the entire coastline of Puri district is undertaken for preservation, protection, and promotion,” he said.

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