The Bombay high court, on Tuesday, directed National Environmental Engineering and Research Institute (NEERI) to inspect the mangroves in Sewri mudflats and Charkop and submit a report by June 7.
The court had taken suo motu cognisance to HT's report on large-scale destruction of mangroves in these areas.
A division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Niteen Jamdar directed the NEERI team to visit the sites along with officials of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and Maharash-tra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA). The court has also asked Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) to deposit, within two weeks, Rs2 lakh to meet expenses of the inspection.
The MCZMA, in an affidavit filed by its member secretary Ashok Kumar Jha, blamed the port trust for the destruction of the mangroves. The affidavit stated that the port trust boundary wall and bunds had blocked the flow of saline water to the mangroves. "Desired salinity of water required for optimum growth of mangroves is not available due to reduced nutrient/sediment flow because of diminished tidal flow on both sides of the nullah and the area between Reti Bunder and Ghaslet Bunder," Jha has stated in his affidavit.
An MPCB team, which visited the site, found the level of salinity in the water in the area at 1.25%. The normal level is 33%.