Turtle Turnaround: Hatchlings Return to Mumbai Beach After 20 Years
At Versova Beach, in the Indian coastal city of Mumbai, local volunteers have stepped up to finally clean up a shore covered in ankle-deep trash and waste. The United Nations described the transformation as the world’s largest beach cleanup project ever, and the work has been rewarded with serious environmental progress.
For the first time in 20 years, Olive Ridley sea turtles have hatched at Versova. The turtle is currently classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature because of environmental pollution. They’re the smallest and most common sea turtle, but all species are threatened by human encroachment and pollution.
Lawyer and conservationist Afroz Shah says, “I had tears in my eyes when I saw them walking towards the ocean.” Local ecologists say it’s possible the Olive Ridley turtles have been nesting on the beach without anyone noticing, but capturing this momentous occasion is a huge boon to the volunteers, which have encountered some resistance via harassment and bureaucracy.
This article appears in the October 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.