15-week transformation for Navi Mumbai mangroves: 7,000kg trash removed
An environmental group has removed 7,000kg of trash from an 8,000 square metre mangrove patch in Navi Mumbai since August 15 with the help of the government and citizens. Trash was removed every Sunday for two hours as part of the initiative over the last 15 weeks.
Environment Life, the group, on Wednesday shared images before and after the trash removal.
Organisers said footwear, medical waste, mercury bulbs, tube lights, liquor bottles, plastic, spoons, packaged water bottles, wafers packets had made their way through the creek and got stuck in the breathing roots of mangrove trees. Some of the waste was being recycled.
“We, as citizens, need to take responsibility and ownership to take care of our own waste or step up and clean our natural areas. What we have managed to remove is not even 1% of the waste stuck in mangrove areas and microplastic daily entering our oceans,” said Dharmesh Barai, founder, Environment Life.
Babasaheb Rajale, deputy municipal commissioner who participated in the initiative, said it is a perfect example of public initiation. He added all stakeholders including the government, citizens, and even students came together for freeing mangrove forests of waste. “All support was given to this team by providing staff, treating trash, providing gloves, and other accessories to volunteers. We appeal to other groups to come forward and work with us for similar results.”
Rajale said they will now raise awareness about the importance of natural areas. “We are now planning similar clean-up efforts across other Navi Mumbai mangroves.”
Virendra Tiwari, additional principal chief conservator of forest (Mangrove cell), said the initiative in Navi Mumbai is an example of how citizens can draw the focus towards protecting marine biodiversity and showcase the importance of an ecosystem which is the first line of defense against extreme weather and rising seas.
According to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, 80-110 metric tons of plastic waste is dumped into drains and water channels daily in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Sewage and trash enter the sea and gets stuck within the mangrove ecosystem.