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Mumbai: Panel plans to declare areas around water bodies eco-sensitive zones

According to civic officials, the committee will collect data of the exact number of water bodies in the city and a conservation plan will be prepared. Several lakes in the city are facing pollution and threat to aquatic life since years as sewage water and waste are directly dumped into them.

Written by Laxman Singh | Mumbai |
January 19, 2021 3:16:31 am
BMC, bmc hybrid power plant, Vaitarna dam, Vaitarna dam hybrid power plant, indian express newsThe BMC has inked an agreement with these companies to buy electricity at the rate of Rs 4.75 per unit for the next 25 years. (File)

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC’s) Biodiversity Management Committee is, in a bid to conserve water bodies in the city, planning to declare areas around them eco-sensitive zones (ESZs). In its first meeting on Monday, the committee held a discussion on conservation of water bodies, preventing pollution in coastal water and increasing biodiversity around the city’s gardens and parks.

The 23-member committee, headed by Deputy Municipal Commissioner, (Gardens) Ramakant Biradar, has several experts from the fields of marine life, wildlife and environment, apart from civic officials, corporators and elected legislators. Earlier, on December 1, Mayor Kishori Pednekar had given formal approval to the proposal of constitution of the committee.

According to civic officials, the committee will collect data of the exact number of water bodies in the city and a conservation plan will be prepared. Several lakes in the city are facing pollution and threat to aquatic life since years as sewage water and waste are directly dumped into them.

“We are planning to declare the areas around these lakes as eco-sensitive zones and have a preservation plan for the biodiversity of these lakes. The area around the lakes are eco-sensitive as there is presence of aquatic life, birds and flora-fauna… During the discussion on pollution in water bodies and in coastal water, experts suggested conservation plans,” Biradar told The Indian Express.

He said, “There are many big lakes and several water bodies that can be part of the conservation effort. Experts will be involved to turn this idea into reality.”

The committee is of the opinion that conservation of all water bodies should be looked at holistically. Mumbai has many lakes such as Bandra Talao, Sion Talao, Lotus lake in Aarey Milk Colony, Shantaram lake in Malad, Powai lake and Shivaji Talao in Bhandup.

The committee will also prepare a people’s biodiversity register (PBR), work on conservation and preservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits, and regulate access to biological resources. The data will be shared with the State and National Biodiversity Committees.

The committee has also decided to increase the biodiversity around its gardens. “Mumbai has over 1,000 open spaces along with several gardens. We are doing Miyawaki plantations at 64 plots. These urban forests will help in developing more biodiversity in the city,” said Jeetendra Pardeshi, member-secretary of the committee and superintendent of the Gardens department.

Officials said that work on preparing a detailed database of the city’s biodiversity has started.

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