Dahisar mangroves diminishing | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Dahisar mangroves diminishing

After instances of mangrove destruction in Dahisar, local residents have now identified dying brown patches amidst the lush 400-acre green stretch. Locals have alleged that the bund built by a builder has blocked salt-water ingress that is necessary for the mangroves to survive.

mumbai Updated: Sep 07, 2010 02:24 IST
Snehal Rebello

After instances of mangrove destruction in Dahisar, local residents have now identified dying brown patches amidst the lush 400-acre green stretch. Locals have alleged that the bund built by a builder has blocked salt-water ingress that is necessary for the mangroves to survive.

“The builder has blocked all inlets that could have gotten the salt water into the mangroves. The initial salinity that was already there has helped the mangroves survive,” said Harish Pandey of the New Link Road Residents Forum. “This was the precise plan of the builder to let mangroves die a natural death.”

Residents are especially surprised because the mangroves are dying during the monsoon.

“Since May, there has been no sea water coming into the mangroves. The existing soil salinity with rainwater would not affect them since seawater would eventually ingress. But now inlets have been shut,” alleged Pandey.

However, one week ago, the state environment ministry issued orders to collector Nirmal Deshmukh. “I have already asked the collector to arrange for water ingress for the mangroves,” said a senior official.

Over the past more than one year, local environment activists have been tracking mangrove destruction as well as trucks dumping mud, stones and other kinds of debris on the edges of the mangrove stretch.

A Kandivali-based builder began the repairs of the bund defunct since 1993 on April 10 following a Supreme Court ruling in their favour. However, the ruling directed the petitioner not to destroy the mangroves.

While there is a Bombay High Court ruling in 2005 that banned destroying mangroves, the Bombay Environmental Action Group has filed an appeal at the apex court against the matter. The matter will be heard in the Supreme Court in mid-October.

In an affidavit filed in the apex court, the collector reported that under the guise of repairing old bund, the builder has constructed a new bund.

The affidavit also states that the builder has the intention to kill all the mangrove vegetation across 175 hectares by obstructing the natural flow of seawater. Also, that the builder has excavated and filled 5661 metric tonnes of minor minerals such as stones, gravel and sand as against the requisite 500 metric tonnes.