Construction debris is being dumped on the service roads abutting mangroves on either side of the eastern express highway in violation of a Bombay high court order.
The high court (HC) had ruled that debris cannot be dumped within 50 metres of mangroves.
The service roads are littered with cement bags and an assortment of garbage. Vanashakti, a non-profit organisation, claimed that despite repeated complaints, the HC’s order and environmental laws are being blatantly disregarded. Government authorities such as the forest department, the public works department (PWD) and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are yet to book a single person for the dumping.
The PWD, which maintains the highways, has been unable to book anyone for dumping despite patrolling the stretch between Vikhroli and Bhandup. After being unsuccessful in nabbing the culprits the PWD also roped in the BMC to nab the culprits.
“Thrice a week at the night our officials have been patrolling the highway to keep a check on the dumping activities. Since the Kanjurmarg landfill is located close to the service road, several trucks ply on this stretch to dump debris, so it has become difficult to catch the real culprits,” said RK Jawanjal, executive engineer, PWD. Vanashakti now plans to move court over the matter.
“Even though the highways are not under forest department’s jurisdiction, they should be alert about anyone threatening mangroves.” said Stalin D, director (projects), Vanashakti.
Mangroves act as a buffer between land and sea and help prevent flooding. In its letter to the BMC’s water supply department, the PWD has asked them to clear out debris left during the laying of the pipeline.
“We have cleared out the debris that might have been left behind by the contractor laying the pipeline and we are also in the process of burying the trenches on the highway,” said Ajit Mokashi, deputy engineer, water supply department.