Mumbai: Religious waste, illegal fishing pushes Lokhandwala's bird paradise under threat

Updated: Nov 26, 2017, 14:41 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Plastic and religious waste, and illegal fishing, may lead to Lokhandwala lake losing its prized bird population

The over four-acre natural Lokhandwala lake, nestled amid mangroves, and home to various species of birds is once again facing a threat from the plastic litter that is being dumped into it. A warning board that was installed by the BMC appealing to citizens to not dump plastic into the lake has disappeared, allegedly stolen. Regular visitors and nature lovers who visit the lake daily, are of the opinion that the BMC should deploy security guards at the site so that people can be prevented from throwing plastic into the lake. Speaking to mid-day, Darshan Dhoke, a nature lover, said, "It is sad to see the pace at which the plastic litter along with garlands, are being dumped into the lake. There are groups who come to the lake to fish; that issue also needs to be tackled."

On Saturday, when this reporter went to the spot, we saw empty beer bottles in the lake too. Mukesh Waghela, a resident of the neighbourhood, said, "Two years ago, the BMC had cleaned the lake, with help from citizens who have been fighting to save it. A large board was also put up near the lake informing people that they should dump the waste in designated bins, but miscreants, who illegally go fishing in the lake, stole that board. The BMC should deploy security guards to prevent further pollution. The Versova police should increase patrolling in the area, especially in the evenings. That is when I see youngsters consuming liquor by the lake side, chasing away the birds."

The lake is littered with everything from religious waste to beer bottles
The lake is littered with everything from religious waste to beer bottles

Despite there being a nirmalya kalash specifically meant for the religious waste, people still throw polythene bags filled with garlands and other puja material into the lake, which according to environmentalists, is not good for the biodiversity of the lake.

In 2014, Friends Of The Environment was created by Dr Chandrakant Jain, Sumesh Lekhi and Aashish Mehta and they have been doing their best to educate people and protect this lake which is the habitat for many migratory birds.

List of birds at the lake 
Purple Swamphen, Garganey Duck, Coppersmith Barbet, White-throated Kingfisher, Black Kite, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Spot-Billed Duck, Indian Pond Heron, Black Drongo (Dicrurus Macrocercus), Common Myna, Cattle Egret, Red-vented Bulbul make regular appearances at the lake

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