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Over 28% of Sunderbans damaged in Cyclone Amphan

About 28% of the Sunderbans has been damaged by Cyclone Amphan, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Friday at the launch of a drive for planting mangroves and trees to mark World Environment Day.

Also read: Cyclone Amphan batters West Bengal, Odisha

She said 1,200 sq km of the 4,263 sq km forests had been “destroyed”. The Indian Sunderbans, an area south of the Dampier Hodges line, is spread over 9,630 sq km, of which the mangrove forest accounts for 4,263 sq km.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Ravi Kanta Sinha said the damage was mostly in the Patharpratima and Kultali areas of South 24 Parganas. “The damage has been much on the Indian side of the Sunderbans and not on the Bangladesh side,” he told The Hindu. On trees turning yellow and red in the Sunderbans after the cyclone, he said the phenomenon was mostly due to salinity. “The trees that turned yellow were not mangrove trees, it was mostly due to the dense fog of saline water. We are not sure whether the trees will survive. Maybe, if the salinity of the soil comes down, some trees can survive,” he said.

Despite the massive plantation drives, it may take years to restore the mangroves, officials said. Experts say the mangroves not only reduce wind speed but breaks the waves during a storm surge caused by a cyclone.

In pictures: Amphan leaves West Bengal, Odisha reeling

The Chief Minister said the Forest Department should be prepared to plant 3.5 crore mangroves by July 14, World Forest Day.

Ms. Banerjee said 16,000 trees were damaged in Kolkata. About ₹100 crore would be spent on plantation drives in Kolkata and adjoining areas. Trees had been lost not only on the streets but also in parks and gardens. Eminent citizens of the city have urged the civic authorities to replant some of the fallen trees, especially in the Rabindra Sarovar Lake. The civic authorities have replanted one tree in Southern Avenue and 100 more trees will be replanted in Rabindra Sarovar and adjoining areas.

The Chief Minister wrote on Twitter, “We must all work together to restore the greenery in our State.”

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 7:25:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/over-28-of-sunderbans-damaged-in-cyclone-amphan/article31760595.ece

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