3 truckloads of debris dumped on mangroves near Mithi river at BKC
MUMBAI: Fresh debris was spotted on a wetland patch near the Mithi River at Bandra Kurla Complex by an NGO on Thursday, a day after HT reported several city-based NGOs alleging harm to mangroves at BKC from construction work.
The NGOs said the mangroves were dying as sea water was blocked by the construction of a retaining wall by the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA).
The NGO Watchdog Foundation that spotted Thursday’s debris has filed a complaint with the state mangrove cell and district collector to take action at the site near Bharat Nagar, BKC, Bandra East.
“If it was not enough that the mangroves were drying up at the site, now more than three truckloads of debris were dumped,” said Godfrey Pimenta, trustee, Watchdog Foundation.
“This is a clear violation of the Environment Protection Act, 1972 and an evidence of MMRDA’s intention to clear all mangroves for further constructions.” MMRDA officials, however, said they did not know about this alleged violation. “We will instruct the security department concerned to check if there has been violation. Debris will be removed,” said DT Thube, chief engineer, engineering division, MMRDA.
Meanwhile, on receiving the complaint, the district collectorate and state mangrove cell swung into action. “The sub-divisional officer has been asked to inspect the site. We have informed the mangrove cell to join us,” said Deependra Singh Kushwa, collector, Mumbai suburban.
In coastal cities such as Mumbai, mangroves and wetlands are vital coastal ecosystem that harbour marine life, migratory birds and act as natural buffers against floods and tsunamis during extreme weather events. Activists have been speaking up about harm to mangroves from construction work.
“Constructions along the banks of Mithi River by MMRDA are all violations of CRZ norms,” said Stalin Dayanand, project director, NGO Vanashakti.