Mumbai: Water released from JNPT destroying 5,000 mangroves, say NGOs

Updated: 18 January, 2020 07:40 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

NGOs allege it is released after being used for washing chemical tankers in 4th Container Terminal, and is choking the plants.

Navi Mumbai-based nature lovers and members of the fishing community have  complained about the killing of mangroves in Uran to the Mangroves Protection and Conservation Committee
Navi Mumbai-based nature lovers and members of the fishing community have complained about the killing of mangroves in Uran to the Mangroves Protection and Conservation Committee

The destruction of mangroves and wetlands in Navi Mumbai and Uran continues. Navi Mumbai-based NGOs fighting to save them, have alleged that over 5,000 mangroves have been destroyed due to the water released from washing chemical tankers in the 4th Container Terminal of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT).

The NGOs have time and again brought to light several incidents where mangroves and wetlands have been destroyed rampantly. Green activists have also been alleging that the action against those responsible for the destruction of the ecologically important areas has not been that effective.

Navi Mumbai-based nature lovers and members of the fishing community have also complained about the killing of mangroves in Uran to the High Court-appointed Mangroves Protection and Conservation Committee.

"This is perhaps the third incident in recent years involving the destruction of mangroves in JNPT after massive losses of the life-saving sea plants in the 4th Container Terminal area," said B N Kumar, director of NatConnect Foundation. In his complaint to the committee, Kumar has alleged that oil tankers parked on the railway track in the terminal are regularly washed and the water is discharged into the mangroves zone. "This obviously chokes the plants and they die," added Kumar.

NatConnect, another environment-focused NGO Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan (SEAP), and a fishing community group, Paaramparik Machhimar Bachao Kruti Samiti (PMBKS), have claimed that mangroves spread over a one-km stretch, which is 50 mts wide, are dead.

"Dead fish are now floating in the area and out into the sea," said Dilip Koli of PMBKS. "We are not at all against development activity, but this development of the 4th Container Terminal has been repeatedly causing environmental destruction," said Nandakumar Pawar, head of Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan. "The authorities must realise that their own projects will be in danger of tidal water attacks, which will anyways drown the villages around, as the line of defence — mangroves — has been massacred," Pawar said.

Pawar also alleged that the container terminal is eating into the mangroves and the landfill is impacting the flow in inter-tidal zones. JNPT has been fined before for the destruction of mangroves. "Earlier we had brought the attention of the HC committee to the killing of 4,500 mangroves, for which JNPT was fined R1 lakh," Kumar said.

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First Published: 18 January, 2020 06:26 IST

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