Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary proposed as MMR’s Ramsar site

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region is likely to get its first Ramsar site at the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary, with the Maharashtra Mangrove Cell submitting the proposal for approval to the State Wetland Authority.

A Ramsar site is a wetland area designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental environmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

Virendra Tiwari, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Mangrove Cell, announced the move at the 4th Climate Resilient Maharashtra Townhall. “A proposal to declare Thane creek as a Ramsar site has been submitted and we are working on it with the Environment Department,” he said.

The Mangrove Cell is awaiting approval from the State Wetland Authority, which is headed by Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray, and is closely working with the Environment Department for its speedy approval. “Following this, it can be sent to the Central government,” Mr. Tiwari said.

The townhall was organised by Climate Voices, a collective of three organisations — Purpose, Asar and Climate Trends — along with the Environment and Climate Change Department’s Majhi Vasundhara initiative on Monday, which was observed as International Day for Conservation of Mangroves.

Task force to be set up

Manisha Patankar-Mhaiskar, Principal Secretary, Maharashtra Environment and Climate Change Department, said the department would be setting up a task force to conduct a fresh exercise to identify, demarcate, and preserve wetlands left out of coastal zones and inland areas in the State.

“We will be looking at all the wetlands [even those that may have been left out] for our latest inventory in an attempt to protect as many wetlands as possible across Maharashtra. The Minister is already planning to meet with all the District Collectors in the State,” she said.

On the roadmap for conservation and rejuvenation of mangroves in the State, Mr. Tiwari said as per the High Court’s orders, the remaining mangroves on government land will be transferred to the Forest Department and notified as reserve forest. “We have also proposed to secure possession of mangrove areas under the territorial wing of the department,” he said.

Two mangrove parks

Within the next two years, the Mangrove Cell also plans to set up mangrove parks at Gorai and Dahisar. “All clearances have been sought and the work order has been given for the Gorai park. It will be ready in the next two years. Work on the Dahisar park is also under way,” Mr. Tiwari said.

Meanwhile, the State has reached out to the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change with a proposal for the Forest Department to be empowered under the Environment Act, 1986, to allow faster delegation of powers to forest officials to take action in cases of destruction of mangroves and wetlands.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 3:03:45 PM |

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