Navi Mumbai: Greens worried Airoli mangroves turning ‘brown’ | Navi Mumbai News

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NAVI MUMBAI: Concerned over the Airoli mangroves turning ‘brown’ over the past six months, activists have written to the Bombay high court-appointed Mangrove Protection and Conservation Committee and other authorities to conduct a scientific study. The greens have also asked the authorities to take stringent steps to safe guard the mangroves from encroachers in Uran.
Activists say while mangroves along the Airoli coast have been ravaged by caterpillars and other mystery insects, those in Uran near NH 348 face threat from illegal debris dumping. “As one drives toward Navi Mumbai, after crossing the Airoli toll plaza, it is unnerving to see scores of mangrove plants without any leaves. For over five months, new leaves have not reappeared, which is worrying,” said environmentalist B N Kumar of NatConnect Foundation. Airoli-based range forest officer, D Kukade, told TOI, “This year, there was an increased activity of plant-eating bugs and insects which mainly target the commonly found mangroves (avicennia marina) along the Airoli coast.”
Meanwhile, in Uran, taking advantage of the festive holidays, trucks and dumpers were noticed dumping debris on the mangrove stretch close to NH 348 on Saturday. “This is obviously yet another illegal landfill, apparently for an infrastructure project,” said Nandakumar Pawar of Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan.
Activists say the mangroves face further threat from the Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet train project which is likely to destroy mangroves equivalent to the size of five and half Azad Maidans.
Member of the high court-appointed mangroves panel, D Stalin, who also heads the NGO Vanashakti, said they have regularly told authorities to take concrete action to safe guard mang roves, especially in Uran.
The complaint has been marked to the chief minister and state environment minister as well as Raigad district collector and the mangrove cell.

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