Versova mangroves in Mumbai get bio-fences
A bio-fence is a frame on which shrubs or plants are grown, creating a natural barrier.Updated: May 26, 2019, 00:03 IST
In a first-of-its-kind measure to protect mangroves in the city, the forest department is experimenting with bio-fences, or protective barriers made from plants. The first bio-fence has been installed in Versova.
A bio-fence is a frame on which shrubs or plants are grown, creating a natural barrier. A 180 square metre stretch of mangroves on government land in Versova has the first bio-fence made of ferns (Asparagus sprengeri), purple heart (Tradescantia pallida), and purple, yellow, and brown rhoeo (Rhoeo spathacea).
The proposal to make a bio-fence was raised by legislator Bharati Lavekar in May last year after repeated complaints of mangrove destruction and garbage dumping in SV Patel Nagar, in Versova. While 90m of the bio-fence was funded by the state, the remaining stretch was funded by Lavekar.
“We had placed the proposal before forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar who approved it. Using development funds allotted for Versova constituency and support from the mangrove cell, the project was implemented,” said Lavekar. “Not only does it help protect mangroves, but the natural barrier helps absorb carbon emissions from vehicles, thereby reducing air pollution in this zone.”
“This is one of the simplest and most cost-effective measures to protect mangrove forests and should be replicated across other areas,” said Stalin D, director, Vanashakti.
Another 700m of the 15-hectare mangrove patch in Versova will be protected using chain-link fencing. “The land belonging to Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) is not protected as a reserved forest, and does not have any legal protection. This was a unique pilot project to enhance mangrove protection and increase awareness about safeguarding trees in areas falling under government land,” said Prashant Deshmukh, range forest officer (west), state mangrove cell. The remaining 700m will also be covered using the government’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds, said Deshmukh, adding that the area will be handed over to the forest department within a month.