On Monday, a team of state government officials conducted an inspection of Sewri Bay to check the destruction of mangroves at the site developed as Sewri Mangrove Park by the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT).
Over two hours, the eight-member team from the District Coastal Monitoring Committee comprising officials from the environment department, forest department, state pollution control board and civic body collected soil samples and waters samples from the site.
“We will submit a report to the city collectorate tomorrow. The results of the sample analysis will be out in two weeks,” said Nandvate S, sub-divisional officer, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board.
Though the forest department had confirmed last week that large portions of mangroves had died as a result of pollution from coking coal stored a few metres away from the vegetation, forest officials on Monday said other sources of pollution could also be damaging the mangroves. Coking coal is heated to produce coke — a hard, grey, porous material — used in blast furnaces for extracting iron from the iron ore.
“Apart from coking coal, other chemical effluents may be killing the mangroves. The sample analysis will bring out the exact source of pollution,’ said Suresh Darade, assistant conservator of forest, Thane.
On February 28, HT had reported that more than 30 acres of mangroves have died due to what environmentalists believed was because of coking coal.