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Is the land mafia gobbling up Mumbai's mangrove cover?

mid-day reporter spots debris being dumped just 100 metres away from the mangrove forest below the northbound stretch of the Eastern Freeway

In yet another case of blatant disregard being shown for the environment, construction debris is being dumped just 100 metres away from the mangrove forest below the northbound stretch of the Eastern Freeway between Sewri and Wadala.

The mangrove cover below the Eastern Freeway between Sewri and Wadala is systematically being reduced
The mangrove cover below the Eastern Freeway between Sewri and Wadala is systematically being reduced

This correspondent noticed the destruction while he was on his way to Chembur from Orange Gate via the Freeway and a little digging revealed that the mangrove cover had completely disappeared at a few areas that had been encroached upon by slum dwellers.

Speaking to mid-day, Stalin Dayanand of Vanshakti NGO said, “I have been constantly writing letters to the forest department and the Mangrove Cell, informing them about the illegal dumping. But no action has been taken till date.”

He also alleged that a builder destroyed a one-acre plot with thick mangrove cover between Sewri and Wadala by preventing creek water from entering the mangrove forest. Dayanand said the builder wants to redevelop slums near the mangrove cover.

A few local residents revealed that most of the dumping happens under the cover of darkness. “This stretch, below the freeway, is isolated and witnesses little vehicular movement in the night. This allows the land mafia to exploit the situation,” said a local resident. Despite repeated attempts, N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forests (Mangrove Cell), remained unavailable for comment.

Did you know?
The Mangrove Cell was formed with the intention of creating awareness about the importance of mangrove forests and training forest department for their effective conservation.

The cell was also tasked with ensuring that the mangrove cover in the state is increase. In the past, the cell has undertaken several plantation programmes in areas where the mangrove cover has deteriorated.

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