The state mangrove cell has seized a vehicle and booked two men under the Indian Forest Act, 1927, for dumping construction debris into a creek and mangrove forest in Kanjurmarg last week.
During a night patrol on February 5, range forest officers (RFOs) had reportedly spotted a 10,000-litre capacity tanker dumping muck, debris and construction wastewater into a creek in Kanjurmarg. On inspecting the vehicle and its permission papers, the RFOs reportedly found that the construction debris had been brought from Metro-3 construction site at Mahalaxmi.
The mangrove cell has now issued a show-cause notice to the contractor who was assigned to pick up the debris from the Metro 3 construction sites and dump at five designated locations in Thane and Palghar areas.
Metro Line-3 (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz) is the city’s only underground Metro line.
“The contractors have been provided designated locations to dump the construction waste. However, either the drivers or the contractor themselves are cutting corners and instead dumping these waste in creeks and nullahs they find on the way. Following the complaints of dumping of waste, night patrolling is being undertaken by the cell,” Vasu Kokare, Thane division RFO, mangrove cell, said.
In 2018, the Bombay High Court had ordered the state government to launch criminal action against people found destroying mangroves. Around50 cases on destruction of the city’s mangroves, which play a key role in absorbing the impact of flooding and are rich in flora and fauna, were registered between January and July in 2019. The cases have been registered under the Indian Forest Act, 1927; Environment Protection Act, 1986; Coastal Regulation Zone laws; and Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Mumbai has 6,600 hectares (ha) of mangrove cover, with 6,400 ha in the suburbs and 200 ha in south Mumbai. Of this, close to 4,500 ha is on government land and rest on private areas. Navi Mumbai and the eastern end of Thane creek have 1,471 ha of mangroves.
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