The mangrove cell has stepped in to save mangroves of Lokhandwala-Oshiwara area after it was found that the garbage from the dumping of waste in an area owned by the civic body appeared to be spilling over into the surrounding mangroves. The cell has asked the civic ward to construct fencing around their operational area and clean the mangroves at the earliest.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) operates a two-acre ‘refuse transfer station’ area near the Versova lagoon surrounded by mangroves. At a refuse transfer station, garbage from nearby areas are brought in by smaller garbage vehicles and get transferred to the bigger vehicles that take the garbage to the dumping grounds.
Following complaints, members of the mangrove cell visited the area and observed that garbage from the area went into the mangroves due to wind, affecting the mangroves. “Breathing roots of mangroves that come out near the plant base get choked with this garbage. Garbage in mangrove areas affect the biological activity and quality of wetland. We should not see mangroves as individual trees. The trash hinders the entire wetland,” said D Stalin, project director, NGO Vanashakti.
In the letter, the mangrove cell has asked the BMC to construct fences and clean up mangroves. The mangrove cell chief remained unavailable for a comment.
Civic body officials admitted that garbage spilled over to the mangroves, and said they would construct fences. “Rag-pickers separate waste and segregate it into piles. Sometimes, due to wind velocity, waste travels towards mangroves and gets entangled with trees. We will put up fences and will manually clean the mangroves. Once the fences come up, no more garbage will reach the mangroves,” said a senior official from the solid waste management department, who did not wish to be named.