Maharashtra elections 2019| Mumbai residents urge candidates to save city’s wetlands
Increase green cover, compensate for the greenery lost due to airport work, monitor industries at Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), and protect the existing wetlands and green areas in the city.
There are some of the demands by Panvel and Kharghar residents’ forum.
“Panvel was severely flooded this year. The creek water cannot flow out as dumping of debris and increased constructions have blocked the exit. Next year’s monsoon can be worse. All problems related to environment need to have a strategic solution,” said Vinayak R, 45, member of Panvel residents’ forum.
Panvel and Kalamboli were waterlogged this monsoon and residents blame it on airport work.
“Apart from good roads and regular water supply, we also want candidates in the poll fray to take up environment issues which have impacted our survival. The situation has never been so worse. There is an urgent need to tackle the issue and candidates should think about it,” said Amitesh Kale, 50, a Kharghar resident.
The airport work has affected the entire Navi Mumbai, say activists.
The residents’ forum has submitted their demand to the respective parties. The forum members have will speak about the issues to party workers, who come for election campaigns.
People continuously tweet about a range of issues, including environment, and tag most officials.
“The construction work at the proposed airport has led to hill blasting, road widening and much more, leading to increased air pollution,” said Ayesha Raje, who is associated with Kharghar residents’ forum.
Abba Vithal Ranaware, an environmentalist, who has seen city’s transformation, said that although environment has been destroyed, there is a need to save the rest.
“It is good that people have woken up and taken up this issue. Discussions will at least bring in some measures,” he said.
“Unfortunately, environment factor is never talked about. But, with Prime Minister talking about environment and the need to preserve it, I think the issue should be taken up locally during Assembly elections,” said Ranaware.
According to Ranaware, Kharghar and other areas of Navi Mumbai had many ponds, lakes and streams. There used to be vast expanse of wetlands, all of which have been lost to urbanisation.
Activist Rakesh Nair from Panvel said, “There is lack of clear and target-oriented environment policy. There is lack of will in taking up steps to strengthen air quality. Mumbai is among the highly polluted cities and we should be concerned.”