Students, NGO join hands to remove 350kg plastic trash from mangrove forest in Mumbai
A one-hectare mangrove forest in Marve near Malad was cleared of 350kg of plastic trash on Friday, thanks to nine hours of efforts by schoolstudents, government officials and volunteers from environment group Vanshakti.
Members of the NGO said during the drive they made students aware of the importance of conserving mangroves, especially in a coastal city like Mumbai.
“The aim was to spread awareness among students. We gave them an idea of mangrove ecosystem and how it can prevent coastal inundation,” said Madhavi Sawant, project officer, Vanashakti. “We found plastic trash that had washed into the mangroves during high tide accounted for maximum garbage stuck in the mangroves.”
Mangroves are salt-tolerant plants, a common natural feature along the Mumbai coast. The aerial roots, however, can trap plastic and other trash dumped in the forest or brought in by waves.
Sawant said 56 students and teachers from Kendriya Vidyalaya, INS Hamla, Marve, and other volunteers collected 13 large bags of trash and handed them over to the forest department, which sent it to the municipal corporation to discard it at the dumping grounds.
Three mangrove cell officers were present at the site to ensure safety of students.
“Clearing plastic allows the trees to breathe, as their roots get choked by the plastic,” said Prashant Deshmukh, range forest officer, state mangrove cell.
Deshmukh said a similar clean-up was planned on Sunday at Dahisar. “Hundred Mumbaiites and forest officers will clean up a two-hectare patch,” said Deshmukh.