Meet the Karnataka newlyweds who cleared hundreds of kilos of waste from a beach

With hardly any fanfare and two pairs of gloves, Anudeep and Minusha worked every day to clean the Someshwara beach in Baindur right after their wedding.
Couple who cleaned up beach in Baindur after their wedding
Couple who cleaned up beach in Baindur after their wedding
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It had been just over a week after their wedding. Anudeep Hegde and Minusha Kanchan were in Baindur, Karnataka – Anudeep’s hometown – and after six years of dating, had gotten married on November 18. They had made it a habit to go to the Someshwara beach, which is around three kilometres from his house, in the evenings, to chat and pass time as there isn’t much else to do there. The topic of the conversation was to decide where they should go for their honeymoon.

“We were considering Lakshadweep or Himachal Pradesh… but the pandemic and risks of long-distance travel at this time had made us wary. All this while, we had also been noticing that the beach where I often came while growing up had transformed for the worse. There was so much waste – mostly chappals, alcohol bottles and medicine bottles – littering the shore. I just spontaneously suggested to Minusha that we do a clean up till we are here. And she agreed without hesitation,” Anudeep tells TNM.

The 31-year-old digital marketing professional has taken part in beach cleanups before, and comes across as an individual passionate about marine conservation. So when Minusha was on board, the duo went and bought two pairs of gloves, large garbage bags, and simply, without fanfare, got to work. Between November 27 and December 5, the couple says they have removed over 600 kilos of waste from the shore.

“Initially it was just the two of us. Some people would come and enquire who we were, what we were doing when they saw us, but that was all. It wasn’t until December 4, by when I think word got out, and a group of 15-16 young people came and joined us. We had cleaned up about 70-80% of the shore by then. The leftover wooden stakes, leaves and other waste should be cleaned in another week or so,” Anudeep says.

The fact that other people got interested surprised the couple. They had meant to keep it low key, and didn’t even take any photos till December 4, when they were joined by other people. The waste they collected in the large garbage bags had been getting collected by the local panchayat officials who would come to empty the trash from the two dustbins kept near a temple – so it wasn’t even as though they had spoken to any other parties.

However, now that this has gained traction, Anudeep says that they plan to keep the momentum alive. “This happens every monsoon actually,” he explains. “A lot of the drainage connects to the river, which connects with the ocean. And when it rains, the ocean flushes out the trash onto the shores. Now that people have gotten interested, we want to raise further awareness about cleanliness and marine conservation. While this is a small shore and the cleanup will be done in another week, we will perhaps collaborate and participate in other ones happening around us.”

When it’s safe, the couple also wants to organise movie nights at the beach for the local fishermen and screen documentaries about marine life and conservation. “Maybe that will happen next year.”

As for their honeymoon, Anudeep and Minusha did finally decide to take one – they will be going to Kodaikanal and the date is set tentatively for the 16th of this month. Once they come back, Anudeep expects they will be in Baindur till March-April at least, and then decide on where to move depending on the work situation. 

“We will continue keeping the beach clean and perhaps to awareness drives in Baindur till we are here. We are also excited for the future, and though we always planned to travel, now we want to also do something socially productive along with it, like tying up with local schools where we can stop and do environment awareness drives en route road trips. A lot of it will depend on the pandemic situation too,” Anudeep says. 

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