How to choke a wetland in Mumbai

Updated: Feb 26, 2019, 11:51 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Debris dumping has cut off water supply to the second most preferred sanctuary by several species of birds in the Uran region

The mud road that has come up on debris that has choked one portion of the wetland
The mud road that has come up on debris that has choked one portion of the wetland

The destruction of ecologically important wetlands seems to be continuing at a worrying pace in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Now, a wetland at Karal village in Uran is slowly being choked, as the water flowing into it has been stopped by the illegal dumping of debris. Activists claim part of it has even dried up.

Presently, many species of birds are seen in the area but if the dumping continues, this habitat will be lost. Activist Sunil Agarwal has been fighting to save the wetlands in Navi Mumbai and adjacent areas for a long time. Taking serious note of the destruction in Karal, Agarwal has sent a complaint regarding it to concerned officials, including the State Forest Secretary, Environment Secretary, Konkan Divisional Commissioner and the Mangroves Cell. Pictures and videos of the destruction were shot by a local student, after which Agarwal complained. "A wetland in nearby Karal village, Uran, has been divided into three parts due to two partitions made by dumping debris between it. Due to the partition, water doesn't flow to the other parts of the wetland. Hence the wetland on one side has dried," says the email he sent to the authorities.

Birds to be affected
The activist claims that the wetland is a second home to birds like flamingos, storks, ibis, spoonbills, kingfishers of all types, bee-eaters, ruddy shelducks, egrets, coots, etc."With the destruction taking place on such a large scale, where will these birds go? If it is not saved, this will lead to a decrease in migratory birds from next year because this wetland is the second most chosen by them after Panje wetlands in Uran," added Agarwal. The activist has also sent videos and pictures of the destruction taking place to the authorities.

The wetland is a second home to birds like flamingos, storks, ibis, spoonbills, kingfishers, bee-eaters, ruddy shelducks, egrets, coots, etc
The wetland is a second home to birds like flamingos, storks, ibis, spoonbills, kingfishers, bee-eaters, ruddy shelducks, egrets, coots, etc

Pictures of the location were also clicked on Friday and the activist claimed again that the road created due to the partition between the wetland is killing it. The complaint regarding the destruction of wetlands in Karal-Uran was discussed during the meeting of the High Court-appointed wetland and mangroves committee on Monday. Taking to mid-day, environmentalist Stalin D, a member of the committee said, "Our Wetland Committee has also received complaints regarding the destruction and illegal dumping taking place in Uran. We have decided to conduct a site visit, post which we will decide the further course of action."

Official speak
An official from the Mangroves Cell said, "We have received the complaint and the officials are looking into it. We will have to check if the area where the destruction is taking place comes under our jurisdiction and whether its a notified mangroves forest. We will also check if the wetland is listed in the 2010 wetland atlas. If it is not in the list then the action can be taken by the Konkan Divisional Commissioner office."

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