Taking stock of the city’s wetlands, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) for the first time will map all water bodies in Mumbai.
“The city is rich with different types of wetlands. But there are no plans available for freshwater bodies or mangrove wetlands in the city,” said Anjali Parasnis, head, western region, TERI, on the occasion of World Wetlands Day on Wednesday.
“Like it’s said that water will be the next subject of war. Hence, we need to preserve water bodies,” she added.
The institute will work in collaboration with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). The mapping will help respective civic bodies to request for funds allocated for preservation of wetlands from the ministry of water resources.
There are three types of wetlands — inland, coastal and man-made.
About 18.4% area of the country comprises wetlands. Of the 94 wetlands identified under the National Wetland Conservation and Management Programme, only three are in Maharashtra.
For the last few years, water bodies in and around Mumbai are facing pressures due to urbanisation, water pollution, land reclamation, debris dumping as well as sand dredging.
According to Parasnis, while there are huge funds available for protecting and conserving wetlands, most state governments including Maharashtra are not taking advantage of the allocations.
For instance, the National Lake Conservation Plan of the water ministry has allocated Rs 2,750 crore under the current Five Year Plan that started in 2009.
But till date, the amount is lying untouched.
TERI conducted an awareness programme at Rachana Sansad, Prabhadevi, on Wednesday to sensitise aspiring architects on the significance of wetlands, its preservation and the work TERI has done in Navi Mumbai to conserve them (see box).
“Before this session, I didn’t know about wetlands. This information will be useful when we enter the professional world,” said Kavita Bandekar, a first year architecture student.