A Malad resident said the municipal corporation of dumped construction debris on the mangrove forests near Evershine Nagar.
Sharique Raza filed a complaint with the chief secretary, Maharashtra government; Mumbai suburban collector’s office and state mangrove cell, alleging that debris were dumped on a quarter-of-an-acre patch adjacent to the creek, killing more than a hundred mangrove trees. The case comes a little more than a week after the Bombay high court directed the state government to apprise it of the steps taken to restore degraded mangrove areas within two weeks, pointed out in a contempt petition by NGO Vanashakti.
“On Sunday, trucks were seen dumping debris on wetlands in the presence of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officers,” said Raza adding that there were less than 10 trees at the site now. “Construction debris were brought from an old BMC building, currently being renovated. Strict action needs to be taken against these officers and the site needs to be restored to its original status.”
When HT visited the spot, there were no trucks but debris were seen strewn over the wetland. Residents said that over the past four years, encroachments in the area had destroyed over 500 mangrove trees. “Debris dumping has resulted in the loss of the entire mangrove cover,” said a resident on condition of anonymity. “We fear that there might be a flood situation during heavy rains or during high tide.”
Meanwhile, BMC officials denied that any mangrove trees were destroyed at the site. “The silt that you can see on the site is a result of the creek’s desilting operations that took place earlier this year. There were encroachments in the area and we are levelling the land to build a BMC chowki. This will remove the squatters,” said Sangeeta Hansnale, ward officer, adding that the land belongs to the corporation. “We are developing the area now and all our vehicles will be parked there but no mangroves have been destroyed.”