At any given moment on the planet, there’s a conservation effort happening. That’s great news, but at some point, we’ve all wondered whether all of those conservation efforts we hear about are really making a difference. Well, if you ask a group of Olive Ridley sea turtles (and if they could talk) they’d likely confirm that the efforts do, indeed, make a difference. While it’s true that the turtles can’t talk, sometimes actions speak louder than words. The fact that a group of turtles has returned to a beach that was a dump just two years ago to hatch their eggs speaks volumes.
Versova is located in Mumbai, and over the past two years, it was the scene of what the United Nations has called the largest beach cleanup in the world. It was once a horrible example of what unregulated dumping can do to the natural world. The rubbish and plastic junk that piled up on the beach was nearly knee-deep. But today, it’s a near-perfect piece of gorgeous coastline. Mother nature has given her seal of approval in the form of the Olive Ridley turtles. Last month, more than 80 of the turtles returned the once filthy beach to lay their eggs.
Volunteers camped on the beach to protect the eggs from birds and wild dogs, further showing how committed the citizens are to keeping the beach pristine. When the eggs eventually hatched, those same volunteers stood by to make sure that the new baby turtles made it across the beach to the water without being tampered with.
The Olive Ridley sea turtle is labeled as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, despite it being the most abundant species of turtle in the sea. The mother turtles create huge nesting areas to lay their eggs. They’ve nested in other areas of Mumbai over the years, but the recent nesting in Versova is the first time it’s happened in that area for decades.
Efforts like community awareness and education have been instituted so that citizens who live in the cities near the beach can do their part to prevent the coastline from getting as bad as it was prior to the cleanup efforts.