A day after HT highlighted the continuing threat to dense mangroves along Manori creek in Charkop, Sector 8, the state mangrove cell surveyed the affected plots on Wednesday.
Preliminary assessment suggests that the mangroves could have been damaged either due to sustained fires or a foreign substance that could have caused their degeneration.
As per the coastal zone management plant maps, the mangroves that are destroyed are notified as protected forestland under survey No 39.
The total area is spread across 36 hectares while the damaged stretch measures up to 2 hectares.
“The mangrove cover in Charkop is very dense and hence prima facie, it would need some sort of external disturbance to cause damage to mangroves spread over a sizeable area.
Strangely, the mangroves around the damaged area are in good health,” said Vasudev Patil, assistant conservator of forests, state mangrove cell.
Besides survey No 39, the forest department has also notified two other plots in sector 8 and one of them was recently used to plant close to 80,000 mangrove saplings on 19
hectares as part of their afforestation drive. Forest officials also spoke to locals who had complained to the mangrove cell regarding the threat to mangroves.
“We are planning to rope in researchers and our staff to investigate why the mangroves have degenerated. We might then try to rejuvenate the entire affected area,” added Patil.
Locals living at Turzon point road have been witnessing several fires and illegal dumping on mangroves and, since May, have sent complaints to the territorial wing of the forest department and the mangrove cell.
“We hope the forest officials are able to at least rejuvenate the damaged mangroves and put a stop to the illegal dumping,” said a Charkop resident on the condition of anonymity.