The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has asked the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) to study the impact of the oil spill on mangroves in Navi Mumbai and Raigad.
The move to conduct the study can delay the decision on environment clearance for the proposed airport in Navi Mumbai by another three months.
The shipping ministry on Wednesday had said that Elephanta and Navi Mumbai are the two sites where the mangroves appear to be affected.
The study will help understand the sustainability of mangroves in Navi Mumbai, where over 10,000 mangroves have to be cleared for the airport.
“The BNHS will study how the oil slick has impacted mangroves in the region,” Jairam
Ramesh, environment and forest minister, said. “We have asked the committee to submit the report within three months.”
The ministry has denied reports that Prime Minister Mamohan Singh has given the airport project the go-ahead, saying that it has not received any such “verbal or written communication” from the Prime Minister’s Office.
“We will follow the process for giving environment clearance as detailed in the Environment Impact Assessment guidelines of 2006,” a senior ministry official said.
The airport proposal has been listed for discussion at the Expert Appraisal Committee on August 18.
The ministry’s environment impact study will be done in addition to similar studies being conducted by the National Environment Engineering Research Institute and the National Institute of Oceanography.