Aarey to be worst affected if buffer zone shrinks

There will be a loss of green cover if MoEF gives approval to reduce the buffer zone around SGNP

With the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) planning to shrink the 10-km buffer zone around national parks and sanctuaries, the area around Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) that will be affected the worst is the Aarey Milk colony, as it acts as a buffer to SGNP. According to officials, the notification has received in-principal approval from the MoEF.

The Aarey Milk Colony
The Aarey Milk Colony serves as a corridor for animal movement. File Pic

If it’s accepted the buffer area around 25 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in Maharashtra will decrease which will, in turn, allow for construction in this No Development Zone (NDZ).

A senior government official said, on condition of anonymity, “Implementing a restriction on the construction activity around the 10 km radius of SGNP is not possible and so, we want area-specific restrictions.” If the government relaxes the norms for construction in Aarey, slums might spring up in the area.

Dr Anish Andheria, President, Wildlife Conservation Trust, Mumbai said, “The Aarey area is one of the last green spaces within Mumbai city. Besides providing sanctuary to leopards, Aarey harbours several unique species of spiders, reptiles and other wildlife. Any further alterations to its green cover will have an irreversible impact on these species.”

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