The Clean Mangrove Campaign, a three-year joint initiative by the residents and state mangrove cell, made it to the Limca Book of Records this week as one of the biggest government-citizen partnership projects. The campaign, which began in 2015, cleared 8,000 tonne of garbage (mostly plastic) covering 11.03 sqkm of mangroves (wetland areas).
Nearly 25,000 volunteers, led by campaigner Sarthi Gupta, who approached the state mangrove cell for a joint initiative, cleaned up eight mangrove sites — Bandra, Versova, Borivali, Dahisar, Sewri, Gorai, Bhandup and Airoli. The campaign, which involved 14 colleges across the city and concluded in 2018, will start again this month.
Gupta, who was also documenting the mangroves in 2014, said: “The best thing that emerged from this drive is the fact that people are more involved and sensitised about the mangrove ecology. During the clean-up drive, we found mostly plastic and household items in the garbage.”
“We received a great response from all sections of the society, and are also happy to see the results of cleaning. We will continue with our campaign to make zero-garbage mangroves, which seems to be in good health after a rigorous cleaning. The aim was to clean the trash at the roots of mangroves,” said N Vasudevan, chief Conservator, mangrove cell.
The mangroves, which are effective in reducing the flooding impact, are also rich in flora fauna. The Thane creek, 26 kilometre long and the largest in Asia, is a haven for over 200 bird species, including migratory birds, rare Osprey and Greater Spotted Eagle as well as for 13 types of crab.
Following the cases of mangrove destruction and encroachment for development, the two committees — constituted by the high court — had ordered the mangrove cell to also set up website where people can raise complaints and check its status.