Eye in the sky to watch Maharashtra mangroves

May 26, 2021 01:11 am | Updated 01:11 am IST - Navi Mumbai

The Maharashtra Mangrove Cell has planned to acquire a drone and set up a CCTV camera network across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) to keep an eye on mangrove destruction by debris and land mafia.

In an online discussion hosted by NGO NatConnect Foundation, Virendra Tiwari, additional principal chief conservator of forests, Mangrove Cell, said the consultancy firm, Ernst & Young, would carry out a survey of the vulnerable areas.

The NGO has launched a social media campaign #MumbiodiversityBachao focusing on the degradation in the MMR with a social media message: ‘Act today. Tomorrow will be too late’.

The NGO has also appealed to Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray to take quick steps to save the environment.

“We have been complaining against organised mangrove burial across the region to the Bombay High Court-appointed mangrove protection and conservation committee which in turn has been asking the authorities such as the PWD, CIDCO, and District Collectors to act,” said B.N. Kumar, director of NatConnect Foundation, adding, “Though some destruction has been halted in some places, it is rampant in other places such as Uran, Kharghar, Ulwe and Vashi.”

Mr. Kumar claimed that the Forest Department is unable to take any action as most of the mangroves in Navi Mumbai continue to be under the CIDCO. “The planning body is yet to hand over the mangroves to the Forest Department despite a three-year-old High Court order,” he said.

Nandakumar Pawar, head of Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan, said, “The delay in transferring the mangroves to the Forest Department is giving plenty of time to the debris mafia, land grabbers, and project proponents such as NMSEZ and JNPT to bury the sea forests.”

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