Powai lake overflowed on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, following heavy rain showers.(Vijayanand Gupta/HT Photo)
Powai lake overflowed on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, following heavy rain showers.(Vijayanand Gupta/HT Photo)

Preserve mangroves to avoid future flooding: Research body

According to data from the state-appointed mangrove and wetland committee appointed as per Bombay high court (HC) orders, there have been 75 complaints of mangrove and wetland destruction along the Konkan coast in 2019 so far.
By Badri Chatterjee | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUL 03, 2019 06:34 PM IST

With the incessant rain leading to flooding and severe waterlogging in the suburbs, the Mangrove Society of India (MSI), a research body working on mangrove conservation across the country’s coastline since 1990, issued a statement alerting the Maharashtra government to ensure mangrove forests, coastal and inland wetlands, and green zones are protected to avoid future flooding.

MSI members said with growing incidents of extreme weather events and fast accumulation of rainwater, fresh plantations and conserving existing salt-tolerant trees can help reduce the extent of flooding. “If we try to play with nature through human interventions, the response from nature will be disastrous as witnessed on July 26, 2005 (floods that killed over 1,000 people), and between Monday night and Tuesday morning in Mumbai with over 200mm rain,” said Arvind Untawale, executive secretary, MSI and former director, National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa.

According to data from the state-appointed mangrove and wetland committee appointed as per Bombay high court (HC) orders, there have been 75 complaints of mangrove and wetland destruction along the Konkan coast in 2019 so far, with a majority of cases reported from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). Of these, investigations into 74% of the cases remain pending. “Reports from district collectors on pending cases have been received. We are currently studying them and will soon initiate directions for final action,” said Neenu Somraj, member secretary of the HC-appointed committee.

“Mangroves and wetland areas are being neglected, especially in parts of MMR such as Navi Mumbai and Uran,” said Untawale. “No one is against development, but it has to be sustainable after taking inputs from all stakeholders about possible impacts and solutions of any project.”

MSI raised its concern over projects such as the bullet train, coastal road, Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) and activities by Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust that threaten the current expanse of mangroves, wetlands, saltpans, and other eco-sensitive zones. MSI was the first body appointed to study mangrove loss for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project. “Accurate figures were given for loss of mangroves and a detailed report was submitted in terms of remedial measures. However, the report has not seen the light of day while work is underway for the project,” said Untawale.

HT reported on Saturday that at least 32,044 trees will be axed across 9.8 hectares for the bullet train project, the state forest department said.

Incidents of mangrove and wetland destruction across Navi Mumbai and Uran areas of MMR led to severe flooding across residential areas of the satellite city, including the proposed site for the NMIA and Jaskhar, Jasai, Karal and Dungi. “Despite several warnings and reminders, reclamation activity was not stopped at Uran or areas around NMIA, which has led to severe flooding even inside people’s homes. Manmade channels are unable to bear the unusual water pressure and mangroves are the first barrier against this, not barren lands,” said activist BN Kumar, director of The Nature Connect.

On Tuesday morning, residents living in Kranti Nagar, Kurla, were shifted to a civic-run school by the Indian Navy after water from the Mithi River entered their homes. “It is high time and long overdue that the state incorporates the concept of floodplains and floodwater holding areas in its development plans. Not every landmass needs to be constructed, especially naturally low-lying ones. They need to be free of reclamation,” said Stalin D, director, Vanashakti and member of the mangrove and wetland committee.

Based on amended notifications passed by the Centre over the past year for new wetland rules and coastal regulation zone (CRZ) norms, the Maharashtra government stopped demarcating coastal wetlands, while CRZ rules opened up real estate development in coastal areas by increasing floor-space-index (FSI) up to 3 from 1.33 for Mumbai city and 1 to 2.7 for suburbs. Additionally, the provision helped the state to issue clearances for redevelopment activities wherever stopped near bays, creeks, rivers etc. in the city

“To appease the state’s vested interest, the Centre has tampered existing rules protecting the coastline and ecologically sensitive zones. Now, these areas are being witnessed as land banks filled with cement and concrete further aiding flooding,” said Stalin.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner (BMC) Praveen Pardeshi said extremely heavy rain over two days helped cover entire June average rainfall while the same over four days covered almost half the July average rain, which was indicative of an extreme weather event under impacts of climate change. “Our stormwater drainage caters to a maximum of 50mm per hour, and with 200mm rain, they will overflow forcing us to artificially pump out water. In the long run, we have to protect the mangroves and natural areas such as the Sanjay Gandhi National Park that act as a big carbon sink,” he said. “Mangroves need to be protected through removal of encroachments and stopping debris littering. Residential areas need to focus on natural forests rather than artificial gardens.”

Pardeshi said a circular was passed by BMC that wherever there are recreation grounds, urban forests will be made through Miyawaki method – a Japanese plantation technique where these forests grow 10 times faster and 30 times denser than traditional plantation techniques. “There will be mini urban forests with intense plantations.”

Charkop residents

Residents of Charkop have claimed that the mangrove forests in the area helped absorb flood water and protect ed their area. “At a time when most parts of the suburbs was inundated, major roads of Charkop, especially along sector 8, shows the importance of how mangroves can help absorb rainwater and outlets made into the mangrove forests allowed the water to flow through ridding the entire area of water logging,” said Mili Shetty, resident of Charkop.

The state mangrove cell confirmed that the presence of mangroves did reduce the extent of flooding across many areas in the Mumbai suburbs, including Charkop. “The mangroves being coastal wetlands have a huge capacity to absorb large quantities of water. In times of floods, they are our natural capital, which needs to be preserved at all costs,” said N Vasudevan, additional principal chief conservator of forest, state mangrove cell. “Year after year, residential communities are realising and appreciating the value of these trees.”

Experts however had a word of caution. “Under the garbs of excessive real estate development and proposed infrastructure projects, fragile ecological areas are being lost without undertaking appropriate restoration efforts or apprehending future consequences. Forthcoming extreme weather events are likely to batter the city much worse than July 2005 unless we get our act together,” said Arvind Untawale, executive secretary, Mangrove Society of India.

A natural area in the city, Aarey Milk Colony, one of the last remaining green lungs, has been a bone of contention ever since a proposal to build a car-shed for the Metro 3 line (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ) was floated despite having a major share of 4 lakh trees and forming a crucial part of SGNP’s eco-sensitive zone.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Representational Image.
Representational Image.

SSR death case: NBC arrests three, including a drug supplier, from Goa

By Manish K Pathak
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 03:15 PM IST
The bureau’s Mumbai zonal unit and Goa sub-zonal team arrested Ugochukwu Solomon Ubabuko, from Nigeria, and John Infinity alias David, from Congo, and drug supplier Hemant Sah alias Maharaj
Close
Sushant Singh Rajput was found dead in June last year.
Sushant Singh Rajput was found dead in June last year.

3, including one who provided drugs to Sushant Singh Rajput, arrested by NCB

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Kanishka Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 01:30 PM IST
The Mumbai and Goa teams of NCB carried out two separate operations in which two foreigners were held from Mumbai while Hemant Sah alias Mahara, whose link was traced to Rajput’s case, was arrested from Goa.
Close
An elderly woman interacts with a security personnel during a Covid-19 vaccination drive, at NMMC Hospital in Vashi, Navi Mumbai.(Bachchan Kumar / HT Photo)
An elderly woman interacts with a security personnel during a Covid-19 vaccination drive, at NMMC Hospital in Vashi, Navi Mumbai.(Bachchan Kumar / HT Photo)

Women's Day: Maharashtra sets up vaccination centres only for women

PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:27 PM IST
  • "Every district has set up five such centres today. However, there are 19 such centres in Thane district due to higher demand there. There are 189 such centres in the state exclusively for vaccinating women," the official said.
Close
Police personnel stand guard at Mukesh Ambani's residence, a day after explosives were found in an abandoned car in its vicinity, in Mumbai on February 26. (PTI)
Police personnel stand guard at Mukesh Ambani's residence, a day after explosives were found in an abandoned car in its vicinity, in Mumbai on February 26. (PTI)

Ambani security: ATS registers murder case in SUV owner’s death

By Manish K Pathak
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 10:50 AM IST
Mansukh Hiren, 48, whose body was recovered from Kalwa creek on March 5, hours after his family reported him missing, had told the police the Mahindra Scorpio found parked near Ambani’s house was his. He had reported it stolen on February 18 at Vikroli police station
Close
Rao, arrested in 2018, was admitted to the medical facility in November last year due to ill health.
Rao, arrested in 2018, was admitted to the medical facility in November last year due to ill health.

Varavara Rao goes home on bail after release from hospital

By HT Correspondent | Agencies, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 03:00 AM IST
  • The 82-year-old activist, who was granted interim bail for six months on medical grounds by the Bombay high court on February 22, was discharged from the private hospital late Saturday night, they said.
Close
Formal orders to hand over the probe were issues late on Saturday night,(Praful Gangurde/HT Photo)
Formal orders to hand over the probe were issues late on Saturday night,(Praful Gangurde/HT Photo)

Mansukh Hiren death: Maha ATS registers murder case against unidentified persons

PTI, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 11:11 AM IST
ATS registered the FIR against unidentified persons on the order of the state home department under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including murder, disappearance of evidence, and a criminal conspiracy
Close
 (HT)
(HT)

International women’s day: The women in Maharashtra’s politics

By Eeshanpriya M S, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 01:21 AM IST
HT takes a three key women leader – NCP MP Supriya Sule; Rashmi Thackeray, the chief editor of Saamana, mouthpiece of Shiv Sena; and BJP national secretary and former state minister Pankaja Munde
Close
Students in a classroom in a school in Kasheli village, Bhiwandi, which reopened after a year in February. (HT FILE)
Students in a classroom in a school in Kasheli village, Bhiwandi, which reopened after a year in February. (HT FILE)

One year of Covid-19: Online mode - a big lesson for education system

By Ankita Bhatkhande, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 01:00 AM IST
As online became the only mode of learning during the lockdown months of 2020, the stark inequalities of class, caste and gender became visible, as thousands of children were forced out of the education system, and thousands more faced learning setbacks.
Close
Ajit Pawar. (Hindustan Times)
Ajit Pawar. (Hindustan Times)

Maharashtra: MVA govt all set to present its second budget today

By Surendra P Gangan, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:56 AM IST
Deputy chief minister and finance minister Ajit Pawar will on Monday present the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi’s second budget, which is expected to register a revenue deficit of more than 1 lakh crore against the estimated revenue generation of 3,47,457 crore, in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and months-long subsequent lockdown
Close
Aviation sector was severely affected last year with a two-month halt in flights followed by restrictions on domestic and international operations. (HT FILE)
Aviation sector was severely affected last year with a two-month halt in flights followed by restrictions on domestic and international operations. (HT FILE)

Aviation sector awaits successful vaccination drive; crawls towards normalcy

By Neha LM Tripathi, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:54 AM IST
Experts said the ministry of civil aviation is estimated to create 1,058 jobs this month which signals growing optimism in the industry.
Close
Sanjay Raut. (HT Photo)
Sanjay Raut. (HT Photo)

Maharashtra: Topic of emergency should be buried once and for all, says Shiv Sena

By Swapnil Rawal, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 01:18 AM IST
The Shiv Sena on Sunday said the topic of India’s Emergency of 1975 is “outdated” and must be “buried once and for all”, as the current situation in the country is much worse
Close
A total of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>19.9 lakh was collected as fine from the passengers. (HT FILE)
A total of 19.9 lakh was collected as fine from the passengers. (HT FILE)

Mumbai: Over 11,000 railway passengers fined for not wearing mask

By Aroosa Ahmed, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:51 AM IST
On Western Railway, 5,530 passengers were booked till March 6. On Central Railway, 6,177 passengers were fined. A total of 19.9 lakh was collected as fine from the passengers.
Close
Raj Thackeray. (HT PHOTO)
Raj Thackeray. (HT PHOTO)

U-turn by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena: Raj says revive Nanar to get jobs for locals

PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:46 AM IST
In a complete U-turn, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, has demanded revival of the refinery petrochemical project at Nanar in Ratnagiri, which was scrapped by the previous Fadnavis government in 2019 after all political parties other than the Bharatiya Janata Party opposed it
Close
Employees sanitise a classroom. (HT FILE)
Employees sanitise a classroom. (HT FILE)

Maharashtra: Professional course institutes grapple with time crunch to finish syllabus

By Shreya Bhandary, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:45 AM IST
Delay in admissions to professional courses this year has led to serious trouble not only for students, but also colleges. Colleges have been grappling with separate class and exam schedules for their first-year batches as compared to rest of the batches.
Close
A health worker wearing PPE kit sanitises a luggage of a passenger at Dadar station in Mumbai. (Bhushan Koyande/ HT Photo)
A health worker wearing PPE kit sanitises a luggage of a passenger at Dadar station in Mumbai. (Bhushan Koyande/ HT Photo)

Mumbai crosses 1,300 new Covid cases mark after October

By Eeshanpriya MS, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:42 AM IST
Mumbai’s case tally stands at 333,569, of which 9,319 are active, with recovery rate of 93%; 4 deaths take toll to 11,504.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP