The state mangrove cell cleared nearly 500kg trash from the mangroves along with the Carter Road promenade in Bandra on Tuesday, as part of its six-month clean-up drive across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
On Tuesday, 150 students from municipal schools at Khar Danda and Santacruz (East), along with members of NGO Yuva Parivartan, joined the mangrove cell officials and collected 50 bags of trash, mostly plastic stuck to roots of mangrove trees. The students later planted 100 saplings at the spot.
“While Mumbai and surrounding areas have a thick mangrove cover, it is unfortunate most of these areas are littered with garbage,” said N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forest, state mangrove cell. “The plastic and other trash block the roots of these mangroves and sometimes this leads to uprooting of trees. While they protect us from flooding, we want to liberate these trees from litter.”
Currently, Mumbai has a total of 5,800 hectares (ha) of mangrove cover – 4,000 ha on government-owned land and 1,800 ha in private areas. While Navi Mumbai and the eastern end of Thane creek have a total cover of 1,471 ha, for the western bank of Thane creek it is 1,500 ha.
The cleanup drive will be conducted across another 15 spots in the MMR till the onset of the next monsoon at Colaba, Mahim, Trombay, Malad, Malwani, Borivli, Gorai, Ghatkopar, Wadala, Airoli, Kandivali, Chikuwadi, Vasai-Virar and southern parts of Thane creek.
Vasudevan said mangroves have a great recreational value and are home to a large biodiversity, which includes birds and other wetland creatures. “We would like to make these areas more accessible to people as a tourist spot and to educate students about their importance,” said Vasudevan.