MUMBAI: As the High Court appointed Mangrove Protection and Conservation Committee meets on Monday, environmentalists have expressed the hope that the critical issues relating to wetlands such as Panje and Talawe will be resolved.
The green groups have been demanding that the two wetlands should be declared as bird sanctuaries. Though the decision in this regard has to be taken by the State government, the mangrove committee should take steps to protect them, said the environmentalists taking part in a panel discussion organized by The Connect channel of NatConnect Foundation.
Nandakumar Pawar, head of Shri Ekvira Ari Pratishtan, said the committee is one last hope to protect the biodiversity.
The Mangrove committee ought to take into consideration the damage done so far to the mangroves and wetlands in Uran and other areas, he said and called for restraining the various project proponents from doing further damage and undoing the destruction done so far. For instance, he said the damage done by NMSEZ and JNPT under the pretext of development is quite alarming.
Moderating the debate, B N Kumar, director of NatConnect Foundation, said it is significant that the mangrove committee meeting is being held after a gap of six months. The meeting which was scheduled for this Friday is put off to Monday.
Going forward, urban planners must take into consideration all environmental aspects before going to the drawing boards, Kumar opined.
Kailas Annerao, who quit Ernst & Young to focus on environment, said the impact of global warming caused by the environmental destruction is fell by the nations around the world and India and Mumbai metropolitan region cannot escape.
For instance, we had floods in South Mumbai areas such as Marine Drive, apart from several traditional flood-prone zones. The monsoon cycle itself is getting impacted. While the issue of water harvesting is not taken seriously, the governments have to grapple with water shortages in several districts and villages. “A day will come when water sources will be traded on stock exchanges,” he lamented.