This beach was so covered with filth, you couldn't even see the sand.
Versova beach, in Mumbai, was considered one of the city's dirtiest stretches of coast and an unofficial garbage dump where it was actually feared someone might "drown" in all the refuse.
But when one man decided he'd had enough, he sparked the world's largest beach clean-up project - and now the beach looks completely different, reports news.com.au.
A whopping five million kilograms of rotting trash and plastic has been removed from Versova beach, and photos of its dramatic transformation have gone viral.
Lawyer and environmentalist Afroz Shah, 33, led volunteers on a 21-month mission to clean the 2.5 kilometre stretch of coast.
Shah told CNN he was motivated to start the clean-up after becoming alarmed by the volume of rubbish piled up on the once-picturesque waterfront.
"I shifted to my new apartment two years back and saw plastic on the beach - it was 5.5 feet (1.7m) high. A man could drown in the plastic," Shah said.
"I said I'm going to come on the field and do something. I have to protect my environment and it requires ground action."
Shah and a neighbour began cleaning the beach in 2015 and were eventually joined by more than 1000 volunteers, including local school kids and Bollywood stars.
Over 85 weeks they removed a mind-boggling 5.3 million kilograms of rubbish, and also cleaned 52 public toilets and planted 50 coconut trees.
Shah told CNN he wanted to plant thousands more coconut trees to turn the beach back into the coconut lagoon it used to be.
Mumbai Marine conservationist Pradip Patade told CNN the sorry state of the beach was mostly due to garbage being blown in from surrounding slums.
"It was not a very popular beach in terms of visitors and tourists, so its cleanup has been ignored by the municipal corporation," he said.
But after their mammoth clean-up, Shah and the volunteers have been praised across India and the world for demonstrating the incredible power of community-based volunteer work.
Even the United Nations has praised Shah, rewarding him with a Champion of the Earth award in 2016 for his effort to clean up Versova beach.