In an indictment of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corp-oration’s (BMC) negligence in protecting the city’s environment, the state forest department has filed a preliminary offence report (POR) against the civic body for damaging mangroves inside the Kanjurmarg dumping ground.
The POR was filed after officials from the Mumbai territorial division of the forest department visited the site to inspect the mangroves.
The POR, which HT has reviewed, states that of the two mangrove plots measuring up to 23.36 hectares at the site, about 75% of the mangroves in plot-A (12.09ha in size) have died after water flow was obstructed. In plot-B (11.27ha in size), though the damage is less, about 60-70 mangroves have been destroyed.
According to the report, the blocking of seawater flow into the mangroves caused damage. “The culverts that were built seem to have impacted the inter-tidal activity, and the seawater’s natural flow to the mangroves,” said a forest department official who had visited the site.
Reacting to the forest department’s POR, BMC chief Sitaram Kunte said: “We will have to see if the contractor who built the culverts made mistakes that may have affected the flow of water, as the forest department is pointing out.”
Meanwhile, officials of Anthony and Lara Envirotech Pvt Ltd, the landfill operator, said the seawater flow from culverts has been normal. “The mangrove growth at the landfill site had already been sparse ever since we took control of the site and we feel the flow of seawater has been normal. Besides, even local fishermen cut away the mangroves,” said Jose Jacob, the company spokesperson.