Mumbai has lost about a lot of its mangroves due to reclamation, encroachment, and garbage dumping, among other causes.
Last week, the Bombay high court allowed state agencies to cut over 500 mangrove trees for infrastructure projects that were in the “public interest”. The projects include an elevated corridor linking Airoli bridge to Thane-Belapur Road, a depot at Malwani for the Mumbai Metro 2A Dahisar-D N Nagar corridor and three bridges across Thane Creek for the proposed Navi Mumbai airport.
The permissions were sought in keeping with a September 2018 HC order on a PIL filed in 2006 on the need to protect mangroves. The order necessitated prior court approval for future projects.
Mangroves control global warming
The International Union for Conservation of Nature says mangrove forests, along with other coastal wetlands like tidal marshes and seagrass meadows, are long-term carbon sinks, storing carbon in the plants themselves but more importantly in the soils below for thousands of years. This process is called carbon sequestration and it can help control global warming by reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere, according to scientists.
These ecosystems also are important in coastal protection, habitat, food security, biodiversity, and tourism. The world is losing coastal wetlands on a large scale.
Mangrove forests absorbed 50,000 tonnes of CO2 annually: Study
Studies have shown that the city is losing its mangrove forests. A study by Godrej & Boyce estimated that private mangrove forests in their industrial estate in Vikhroli absorbed 50,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. It found that mangroves and the soil they are rooted in have absorbed thousands of tonnes of CO2 from Mumbai’s air, effectively cleaning the air of emissions released by vehicles, industries and unsafe burning of wastes.
An earlier study by the Thane-based BN Bandodkar College of Science found that mangroves along with the Thane creek store 2,38,417 tonnes of carbon.
But sadly, Mumbai’s mangroves are being destroyed due to various development activities.
The 30th edition of ‘Walk for Mangroves’ clean up drive has been organized on 28 December 2019 (Saturday) at the carter road, Bandra, Mumbai by the Bhamla Foundation from 8:am onwards. It is an initiative by Saher Bhamla and Rajlaksmi Patil.
The event is going to be flagged off by Bollywood actress Esha Gupta.