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Not In My Ocean
By Lynette Sequeira
Mumbai, Sep. 28. : Hundred students from standards eight to ten of Don Bosco High School and Junior College, Borivli, together with the Rector Father Solomon Rapol, the Principal, Father Flovi D'Souza, 15 teachers, a few parents and 10 members of the Don Bosco alumni unit participated enthusiastically in a Greenline beach clean-up drive at Gorai beach on September 22.
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The Sarpanch of Gorai, Rossi D'Souza and the Vice-Sarpanch, Royston Goudinho also participated in the event. The beach clean-up drive was the third in a series of activities conducted as part of the Greenline project for the year to sensitise the students about the need to protect our oceans.

On July 31, a group of 20 students from the Nature Club visited a fishing village in Gorai and interacted with the local fishermen on a boat in Gorai creek. This visit enabled them to learn a lot about marine biodiversity, the ecosystem in Mumbai's oceans, and the threats and ill-effects of plastic on the marine ecosystem from the fishermen themselves.

This was followed by the first beach clean-up drive at Gorai beach on September 1, in which about 65 students from the Nature Club, the Science Club, and the Scouts participated enthusiastically and saw the disastrous effects of the ocean being infested by plastic and garbage first-hand.

It was an eye-opener for all students, who realised how garbage finally makes its way to the oceans. Jeremy Verghese, a student of class nine said, ''Around 90% of the plastic we collected were milk bags. It was a real task trying to pull things out as a number of things were buried deep in the sand. Little things make a big difference. We hope we have been able to do that.''

The third activity conducted on September 22, enabled other members of the Don Bosco family to join the students in their unique endeavour to save our beaches and oceans. Officers from Solid Waste Management(SWM) and workers from the BMC also joined the children and assisted them in their effort during both the beach clean-up drives.

''We couldn't clean the entire beach but we created an awareness in the minds of the villagers,'' Arin Weling, a student of class nine said, adding, ''We realised how it takes only a fraction of a second to throw out garbage but picking it up and cleaning the beach would require lots and lots of time and effort over a prolonged period of time. We hope our school will be able to come here more often to do our part.''

''The students were shocked at the sight and a large amount of garbage buried in the sand on the beach. They realised that all of us together are responsible for the mess that we have generated. Nothing changes in a day and I know that it will take a lot of time but I am very happy that we are doing this and I appreciate the fact that our students have taken up this small initiative to try and bring about a positive change in the world,'' Savlee Desai, a teacher coordinating the event, said.

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