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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Excavation of Vadavali hills is killing green cover, says Mumbai NGO

mumbai Updated: Oct 29, 2017 01:35 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Excavation of hills at Vadavali in Thane district.
Excavation of hills at Vadavali in Thane district.(HT Photo)

Rampant excavation of hills at Vadavali in Thane district is leading to loss of green cover, alleged a city-based non-governmental organisation (NGO).

The hill, located near Newali Naka close to Dombivli Ambernath Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) road, is 40 km away from Mumbai. Members of NGO Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishthan (SEAP), who filed complaints with the Thane collector, forest department and the state pollution control board, said that the construction activity was causing dust pollution in the surrounding area and had already destroyed 4-acres of green cover over the past three months.

“This kind of degradation of the environment needs to be stopped immediately, as global warming and climate change are serious issues, and safeguarding our green cover is vital,” said Nandkumar Pawar, head, SEAP. “Any degradation or destruction of the environment will add to pollution and rise of temperature in the area.”

If a hill that falls between two separate hills is demolished, the continuity is lost, which means it impacts the ground water, percolation, tree cover and natural biodiversity. An order passed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), western bench in 2015 said that hills with a slope of 25 degrees or more cannot be permitted to be cut. “This hill has a slope of 40 degrees currently, as per our survey,” Pawar.

HT had reported in January this year that quarrying activities had destroyed more than a 100 hectare area within two lush green hills at Parsik Hill in Mahape, Navi Mumbai and stone quarrying being carried out at the base of the cut hill, which had destroyed the areas rich biodiversity. The matter is being heard by NGT, Pune.

While officials from the Thane collector’s office said they were not aware about the matter, the state forest department and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) both said they had received the complaint on Friday and will be sending officers to the site to survey the area.

What is hill cutting?

Excavation of hills is done through rock blasting that helps cut the hill. This is followed by rock drilling activities to procure crushed stones, which is further sent for stone crushing that forms crushed sand or stone dust for construction purposes.

What is a stone crushing unit?

A stone crushing unit processes stones from quarries to produce different grades of stone and crushed sand (40mm, 20mm, 10mm, crushed sand, stone dust etc.) using crushing, screening and shaping activities at these sites. According to the pollution boards, these units provide maximum supply of crushed sand and stone dust to Maharashtra and parts of Gujarat.

First Published: Oct 29, 2017 01:35 IST

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