Mumbai: BMC agrees to give 35 hectares to transplant mangrove trees

Nov 30, 2018, 08:04 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

In exchange, Mumbai civic body gets MOeF nod for its sewage treatment plant in Malad

Mumbai: BMC agrees to give 35 hectares to transplant mangrove trees

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has got a final go-ahead for its Malad Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) by agreeing to give 35 hectares of land for transplantation of mangroves owing to the 35 hectares that will be affected in the construction of the plant.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) had earlier put down a condition asking for five times the area that will be affected for this plantation. But a Central Government notification mandated three times the plantation of mangroves that will be affected, said civic officials. It did not mention the size of the land, but the number of mangroves affected and ensuring three times the affected number are planted elsewhere.

The BMC thus objected to giving five times the area for plantation and the MOEFCC agreed in September 2018 saying that the earlier demand for five times the land was a typographical error. Also, an amendment to the Environment Protection Act allows construction of a STP in the Coastal Regulation Zone I. Thus, the project, which was on paper for 10 years, has finally got a green signal.

The civic body has now identified an area between Thane and Malad creek and at Bhiwandi - together amounting to 35 hectares - to be handed over to the Forest Department, which will approve it and then forward it to the Revenue Department. Activists have, however, critiqued the move saying the previous deal was appropriate.

Dayanand Stalin, environmentalist, said, "It is impossible to move the mangroves from their original area and transplant them. They will not survive since one cannot create wetlands; they have to be natural. This exercise is completely futile. The area has to be considered because you cannot cramp them into a smaller area.

According to the rule, if 1,000 mangroves are destroyed, 3,000 need to be planted. But they need to be given three times the space too. There needs to be a minimum of 2 metres gap between two mangroves."

Malad Sewage Treatment Plant
The project will be constructed on 35 hectares of land worth Rs 2,000 crore. The city generates about 2,100 million litres of sewage daily. The waste water is proposed to be collected from the wards K East (Andheri East), K West (Andheri West), PN (Malad), PS (Goregaon), and RN (Dahisar). If the sewage plant goes through, it will treat 1,500 million litres of untreated water that directly flows into the sea and is likely to recycle 847 million liters of water.

Manoj Thakur of Municipal Sewage Disposal Project (MSDP) said, "We have now identified the land and the proposal is sent to the Forest Department. Once the approval comes in, we will initiate the process of floating tenders for this project. All our confusion about the mangroves plantation in 35 hectares of area has been clarified by the government in September 2018."

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