Green activist accuses JNPT of destroying Uran wetland

Updated: May 18, 2020, 07:44 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Enviromentalist says Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust is taking advantage of the lockdown and carrying out landfilling activity in Sawarkhar wetland

The dry stretch of the Sawarkhar wetland. Pic/Vivek Kadu
The dry stretch of the Sawarkhar wetland. Pic/Vivek Kadu

Navi Mumbai based green activists have accused Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) of destroying Sawarkhar wetland in Uran by engaging in illegal activities amid the lockdown.

Environmentalists Nandakumar Pawar who has been fighting to save the mangroves and wetlands in the area said, "The people from JNPT are taking undue advantage of the lockdown and carrying out landfilling and destruction of the Sawarkhar wetland. I have already written to the Chief Minister's Office and Prime Minister's Office, requesting immediate action. While the entire world is busy fighting COVID-19, JNPT is busy with illegal activities."

"Sawarkhar wetland in Uran is an identified wetland as per national wetland atlas of Maharashtra but it is on the verge of extinction due to JNPT's illegal landfilling activity," he added.

"JNPT has already illegally reclaimed 300 hectares of one of the beautiful water body at Dastan Phata, Jasai last year. They have already buried hundred of hectares of Mangroves, wetlands for JNPT in Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Belpada and no action has been taken against them," added Pawar.

According to Environmentalists and Wildlife Photographer Aishwarya Sridhar, migratory birds such as Curlew sandpiper, Red-necked phalarope, lesser flamingos, Northern shoveler bar are spotted in and around the wetland and its destruction will have a huge impact on their visits.

"Wetlands are a very important part of our lives because they serve as a carbon sink, mitigate climate change, act as flood barriers, recharge groundwater supplies and provide a livelihood to fisher folks. They keep the mosquito population in check due to the presence of fishes and frogs that eat the larvae," Aishwarya Sridhar said.

"Destruction of these wetlands means loss of entire ecosystems which is vital for human survival. This wetland is an integral part of the Central Asian Flyway and our PM had committed at the COP13 Summit this year that all wetlands across the Central Asian Flyway in India will be protected. So any adverse action against the PM's words is a fundamental violation of government policy," she added.

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