State Mangroves Cell starts mangrove cleanup, does not promise to fix sewage system

Updated: Dec 17, 2017, 09:29 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Eight spots in the city will be cleaned up by State Mangroves Cell, but no word yet on fixing the sewage system

In order to protect the pristine mangrove forest cover, the State Mangroves Cell (SMC) has finally started the Clean Mangroves initiative. In the first edition of the drive on Saturday evening, they took on the mangrove stretch next to Carter Road in Bandra. N Vasudevan, additional principal chief conservator of forest, along with senior officials from the State Mangroves Cell, local residents, 600 students from Rizvi College, St. Andrew's College., RD National College and St. Paul's Institute of Communication Education, took part in the clean-up activity.

Clean-up work in progress at Carter Road in Bandra on Saturday
Clean-up work in progress at Carter Road in Bandra on Saturday

Speaking to mid-day assistant conservator of forest Makrand Ghodke, said, "We want the mangroves to remain clean. Soon we will be conducting clean-up activities at eight places." In the coming weeks the mangroves in Dahisar, Borivli, Versova, Sewri, Bhandup, Turbhe and Airoli will be taken up. While nature lovers have welcomed the move, environmentalists feel that the need of the hour is to address the source that lets out plastic into the sea. It should be noted that the mangrove cover in the city faces enormous threat from sewer pipes that empty plastic and other waste into nullahs and rivers, which reach the mangroves. Slum-dwellers near the sea, throw waste directly into the water, as there's no garbage collection system in place.

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

According to SMC officials, Mumbai's mangrove cover spans across 5,800 hectares, of which 4,000 hectares lie on government-owned land, while 1,800 hectares are privately owned. Stalin D, an environmentalist working with NGO Vanashakti, said, "It's a good move undertaken by the SMC, but a 100 clean-ups would prove futile unless all agencies come together. We are working towards that, so that the source of the problem is attended to. We expect to achieve something concrete in the next two months."

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A new online complaint cell
Now, nature lovers can report destruction of mangroves and wetlands on two websites that were launched yesterday. For mangrove-related complaint, you can log on to mumbaimangroves.org, and for concerns related to wetlands, you can file a complaint online at konkanwetland.com

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