July 31, 2019 1:48:34 am
IN A bid to improve mangrove cover, the Mumbai Mangrove Conservation Unit (MMCU) has identified 10 locations across the city, spread over 14 hectares, where it will undertake mangrove plantation drive.
According to data from the Maharashtra Remote Sensing Applications Centre (MRSAC), 14 hectares of mangrove cover had been lost either due to destruction, encroachment or dumping of debris over the last 14 years. The MRSAC, which is involved in mapping and monitoring of natural resources for its better management, identified the site of mangrove destruction after comparing satellite images from 2005. The 10 locations where mangrove plantation will be undertaken are — Mulund, Vikhroli, Vashi, Mahul, Malvani, Mandale, Chembur, Gorai and two areas in Ghatkopar.
“We have written to the local municipal corporations to clear these sites of encroachment. We have received positive response from the Mumbai municipal corporation. Once the clean up drives are complete, we will begin with the mangrove plantation,” said Neenu Somaraj, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Mangrove Cell. Earlier this month, the BMC had began a clean up drive along the mangroves in the western suburbs.
Moreover, two years after the state proposed to build walls to protect the mangroves, construction work for the project had started in May. The walls are being constructed on the landward side, at a maximum distance of 50 m from the mangroves. While most of the areas will have the chain fence, the areas that are more vulnerable will be protected by walls. Until this month, the cell has completed 30 per cent of the 30-km-long wall coming up at Charkop, Kandivali, two areas in Malvani, Kanjurmarg and Borivali West.
The second phase of the project will include extending the wall by another 54 km, along other mangrove forests in the city. To prevent encroachers from returning and to ensure the flow of tidal waters again, the cell is creating trenches in the mangrove patches.
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