Heavy tidal action during monsoon has covered Mumbai's beaches and mangroves with waste. Marine Drive, Juhu and Versova beaches are filled with plastic bottles, bags and containers, apart from nirmalaya (decorative flowers used during festivals).
N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forest, state mangrove cell, said, “There is an increase in the quantum of non-degradable material along the wetlands and sea shores during monsoon every year. It has seldom been observed that the plastic gets entangled around the roots of the mangrove trees, choke them and leads to their damage.”
Vasudevan said plastic has a disastrous effect on marine life. “Turtles and other big fish confuse plastic with jelly fish and consume them. Even small bits of waste particles are perceived as food.”
Environmentalists said the situation was similar in Manori, Alibaug, Kashid and all the way up to Daman. “Plastic destroys wetlands and the marine ecosystem as the trash from nullahs finds their way to these eco-sensitive areas. The water splashed along the sea shore in places such as Marine Drive, Juhu and Versova is highly contaminated,” said Stalin D, project director of environment watchers Vanashakti.
“It is almost as if during the rains, nature gives us back what we have been feeding it,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.