Mumbai national park warns construction sites against dumping debris
A day after HT reported that citizens had filed complaints regarding illegal debris dumping and tree felling along the periphery of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), park authorities issued notices to construction sites on the Borivli side to not dump debris in the forest.
Anwar Ahmed, director and chief conservator of forest of the national park, said he visited the site where the debris was being dumped on Sunday. “After HT informed me about the issue, along with forest staff, I surveyed the peripheral areas towards Borivli, and found that debris was being dumped over the boundary wall. I was told that the forest staff has been clearing the debris regularly but the national park is no place to dump this waste,” he said. “All new constructions and chawls along the periphery towards Borivli have been issued notices to avoid dumping debris within the park premises.”
Ahmed said Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has also been informed about such violations. “If this illegal dumping continues, then we will have to take action against such constructions with BMC’s help,” said Ahmed. HT had reported on Monday that residents submitted videos of debris dumping and tree felling that they recorded from their homes. They complained that the activities violated the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and Indian Forest Act, 1927.
Park authorities had confirmed debris dumping had taken place but denied any tree felling activity. They said only branches of a few trees within the reserved area were trimmed by the forest department close to the tiger and leopard enclosures.
The 104-sqkm SGNP is a part of Mumbai’s green lungs and home to diverse flora and fauna. Growing urbanisation, rise in encroachments and human pressures around the forest is a threat to wildlife, said forest officers.
Residents welcomed the speedy action taken by SGNP. “The debris issue needs to be addressed at the earliest by new constructions. It will help protect the park’s wildlife. However, we had witnessed several trees being uprooted and only then did we file complaints. SGNP officers need to investigate the tree felling issue properly,” said a resident who had video recorded the debris dumping from the construction site at the forest, on the condition of anonymity. He had also informed forest officers about the alleged tree felling incident.