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Ocean Trash Collection - Project Mumbai

The Status Quo

About 5 million kg of trash was cleared from the Versova beach as a result of the clean-up drive taken up. However, the problem has not completely been solved yet. There are about 9 canals carrying the waste of the city directly into the Arabian Sea having its mouth near the Versova Beach.

This waste in turn comes landing up on the beach every day. So far no permanent solution could be reached to prevent waste from getting into the ocean.

The issue: Having fishermen taking care for picking up the waste from the sea could lessen the trash coming on to the beaches, however it would not leave us with a permanent solution for what canals keep pouring in.

Actors Involved

Waste Free Oceans is dedicated to transforming ocean plastics by collaborating with fishermen and business to collect and upcycle ocean plastic. Attaching a unique trash collection to fishing boats, we remove floating debris and return it to shore, where it can be sorted, cleaned and recycled. Partnering with recyclers, converters and brands, we then use the “trash” to create innovative products. In projects, we raise awareness in projects on ocean protection.

Afroz Shah, UNEP Champion of the Earth 2016 and initiator of the Versova Beach Clean Up. In October 2015, Shah and his neighbor Harbansh Mathur, an 84-year-old who has since passed away, were frustrated with the piles of decomposing waste that had washed up and completely overwhelmed the city’s Versova beach. Determined to do something about it, the pair started cleaning up the beach themselves, one piece of rubbish at a time.


To find a long-term sustainable solution to the issue of waste entering the Arabian sea in the Mumbai area by implementing a pilot project that can later become part of municipal activity, with view of expanding technology to other Indian regions. Building a partnership to ensure waste is handled correctly.

The Technology

These trawls, developed and patented by our partners THOMSEA, have been successfully deployed and adopted by numerous governments since 2003 as the leading tools to respond to major maritime and river pollution incidents. Once collected, the waste is sorted and sent on for recycling.

Collection trawls can be either towed by boats of varying sizes or, if the body of water is a river, can be statically placed within the body of water, where it can rest unmanned until the net needs to be emptied. The THOMSEA trawl can be used with waves up to 1.2 meters. Its flexibility and strong buoyancy allow it to perfectly adapt to the surface of the sea. Boats with a length of 8-9 m can navigate the trawls conditions up to level three of the Beaufort Scale.

The collection trawl will be brought to the site and local partners be trained how to use the trawl: installation, waste collection and removal of trawl from the water with the use of a crane. If the trial period leads to successful results, a long-term implementation is further looked into. A trawl with higher collection capacity could be installed in larger canals, as well as a collaboration with fishermen established. In developing the “Trash Catcher” care has been given to ensuring that only floating litter is fished for and to minimize the extent to which aquatic fauna will be caught or otherwise adversely affected. The Thomsea trawl net extends only 40cm into the water column (with the rest supported above the water line) to facilitate environmental care.

Waste Free Oceans collaborates with large international brands who have expressed interest in using collected trash to create so-called “Ocean Plastic Products”. Landfilling of materials is to be avoided. If project partners are found, the trash can be sent to local recycler for sorting, cleaning and recycling.

We are now looking to fund this project. Get in touch at if you would like to partner with us.

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