But activist Kumar questions whether development has to come at the cost of the environment. The clearing of mangroves in many areas of the city, particularly along the 18-km-long Mithi river, was cited as one of the main reasons for the unprecedented flooding in 2005. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information. Related Program: Conservative valuation and assumptions about cumulative, non‐quantified value emphasize the importance of mangroves to the built environment, people, and future security of Mumbai. PATHAK: Seema Adgaonkar gives me a tour of the different mangrove varieties that used to be found in the wild in Mumbai. Today, many of these mangroves have disappeared and only a few remain. According to NatConnect Foundation, it has received a positive response from the Mangrove Foundation and its executive director Virendra … This is when he decided to start a campaign to make people aware about the importance of mangroves in protecting Mumbai from tidal waves and how they are a breeding ground for aquatic life. A few months earlier, protests were held in Mumbai to criticise the exploitation of wetlands and felling down of mangroves for ambitious construction schemes. As an island city dependent upon mangroves for its survival, Mumbai is the ideal location for such a nationally important project. Since its establishment, the Mangrove Cell has made concerted efforts for better understanding of the mangrove diversity of the State, to create awareness about the importance of mangroves and to train staff for effective conservation of mangrove areas. SEEMA ADGAONKAR: Yeah. Water. This flower has a very nice fragrance. Mumbai’s mangroves boast a history older than the city itself. But a forest ranger is educating citizens on the value of the trees, hoping to save them. His village survived those deadly 2005 floods with remarkably little damage. Nandakumar Pawar is from a fishing village in northeastern Mumbai nestled in 2,000 acres of mangroves. Mangroves protect shorelines from erosion. Somehow with imposed laws and vigilant citizens, sea cleaning became the priority and many NGOs tirelessly worked towards the same. Mumbai’s mangroves. It was the British who, upon realizing the strategic and commercial importance of the islands of the Arabian Sea, ordered for the clearing of the mangroves that rimmed the once-separated islands to create a continuous land mass then known as Greater Bombay. Mangroves are important for aquatic life and home for many species of fish. But a forest ranger is educating citizens … Mangroves in Puerto Rico Ecological values. Worldwide mangroves are fast depleting but because of the conservation order, Mumbai and its neighboring areas now boast of more than 5,800 hectares of mangrove land which is protected and will protect the city in future. It may, therefore, not come as a surprise that Mumbai has a special mangrove cell, which works with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to make the residents more aware of the city’s mangroves. As the key role that mangroves play in flood control, water quality, and wildlife habitat has become more widely appreciated, Mumbai has been the focus of new efforts to clean up mangrove areas, fence them off, and more aggressively monitor and protect them. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Mumbai mangroves can provide a large base for research opportunities for researchers in Botany, Flora and Fauna of Mumbai coastline studies. In Mumbai, mangroves are found in many creeks in Konkan region such as Jaitapur, Malvan etc. Adgaonkar is a former forest ranger with the state-funded mangrove conservation unit, or mangrove cell. The ecological values of mangroves in most tropical countries have been qualitatively well documented and recognised. However, there is little quantitative scientific data to back this up. Mumbai: People make their way through a flooded street during heavy rains in Mumbai on Tuesday. Proposals to build promenades and boardwalks are in the pipeline. These half-fish and half-tree beings also find a mention in the Puranas and Tamil mythology – it is believed that many of the accessories that adorned the God Shiva, including the serpents worn as jewelry and the tiger-skin shawl, were acquired in the mangrove (thillai) forests of Pichavaram in South India, a telling tale of how bountiful mangroves really are. The Government of Maharashtra constituted the “Mangrove Cell” in 2012 and the “Mumbai Mangrove Conservation Unit” in 2013 to protect mangroves in and near Mumbai and changed the status of mangrove forests on government land from “protected forests” to “reserved forests”. But urbanization is putting those trees in danger. PATHAK: He always knew mangroves were important fish breeding grounds. V. MANGROVE DESTRUCTION IN MUMBAI Rapid developments like housing, industrialization, pollution and increasing population of Mumbai has resulted into degradation of mangroves. Like many coastal cities around the world, India's financial capital Mumbai is being threatened by climate change. For example, the villages of Pichavaram and Muthupet in the southern state of Tamil Nadu were protected by mangroves and … There are two important creeks, Vasai Creek towards … But all of them have these very characteristic aerial roots. With their dense network of roots and … Kumar. Among all of these Mangroves is one of the least noticed yet most important ecosystems. Mumbai's mangroves — a defense against floods and climate change — are endangered by urbanization. Important mangrove sites along India's coast are the Sundarbans in West Bengal, Bhitarkanika in Orissa, Chilka lake in Orissa, the deltas of Godavari and Krishna and Pulicat along the east coast, and Vembanad in Kerala, Kundapur in Karnataka, Honnavar in Karnataka, Malvan in … Since the 1940s, the Godrej Foundation has also been managing and conserving some of the largest private mangrove forests in the world on Mumbai’s coastline. Mangroves are flood buffers and they also help in stabilizing the climate by moderating temperature, humidity, wind and even waves. This is home to more than 16 mangrove species, 82 butterfly … Mumbai has some 20 million residents. A lot of them are getting wealthier. In the 1980s, it cleared one of its largest mangrove forests to build a commercial hub. Even though millions of Mumbaikars pass by mangroves daily, very little is known about the city’s few remaining mangroves. ... As storms become more erratic and severe due to climate change, the importance of mangroves with their complex root system holding on to … PATHAK: It's a common story across Mumbai. Thousands of acres of velvety green mangroves line the border between the Arabian sea and the city of Mumbai in western India. He now runs an NGO which trains fishermen to be mangrove vigilantes. Mumbai’s mangroves boast a history older than the city itself. PATHAK: "If mangroves are saved," she says, "Mumbai will be saved.". It is the only state to have a dedicated cell for mangrove protection. Mangrove forests have historically been overlooked in Mumbai, the study said. The Cell is headquartered in Mumbai and headed by a Chief Conservator of Forests. They act as … The Mangrove Wetland Centre project is the product of years of research on the mangroves in Mumbai and once completed it will be an example to emulate along the coasts of India. Then in 2005, that area was ravaged by deadly floods. By editor • Nov 24, 2019 . SUSHMITA PATHAK, BYLINE: There's so many different types of mangroves here. Vanashakti was a part of a restoration programme launched by state of Maharashtra which involved plantation of mangroves over 60 hectares across the city of Mumbai. NANDAKUMAR PAWAR: And that was truly eye-opening incident for me and my community. Mangroves protect shorelines from damaging storm and hurricane winds, waves, and floods. Accuracy and availability may vary. UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: The dream of a developed India - India's first high-speed rail that will connect Mumbai to Ahmedabad... PATHAK: India's first bullet train is a source of national pride. About 40 ha of these newly-protected areas are along the Mithi river, which is choked by illegal construction. Like many coastal cities around the world, India's financial capital Mumbai is being threatened by climate change. They maintain water quality and clarity, filtering pollutants and trapping sediments originating from land. Mangroves are essential to maintaining water quality. (PTI/File Photo) Environmentalists have reiterated the importance of mangroves in preventing flooding, a day after rain lashed the city. As UNESCO points out mangroves are “rare, spectacular and prolific ecosystems on the boundary between land and sea. The cell also wishes to build a recreational space around the mangroves that would attract more visitors. Apart from playing a critical role in maintaining the city’s ecological balance by preventing soil erosion and reclaiming land from the sea, these hearty and mucky forests also help to generate income for the city’s traditional fishing community of the Kolis. Mumbai's mangroves — a defense against floods and climate change — are endangered by urbanization. Mangroves act as natural buffers against flood surges by absorbing impact and breaking the flow of water. The city is blessed with lush, green mangroves, trees that can act as a buffer against tides. Vanashakti collected 300 kg of garbage from 200 acres of mangrove forests in Bhandup. For NPR News, I'm Sushmita Parthak in Mumbai. Mangroves also help prevent erosion by stabilizing sediments with their tangled root systems. Some are really tall - like, maybe 15 feet high. These can be spotted along locations such as the Vasai creek, Thane creek, Manori, Malad, Mahim, Bandra, Versova, Sewri, Mumbra–Diva, Gorai and Ghodbunder. One network is that of the mangrove forests. They actually protect the land from the impact of the sea. Yet, the few mangroves that still exist provide the city dweller with a rare opportunity to witness the quiet and stillness, a state not typically associated with Mumbai. Why Mumbai Needs More Mangroves . Knowledge about the benefits of mangroves increased significantly in Mumbai (as well as the rest of India) after the tsunami of 2004. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record. PATHAK: The city has been doing this for decades. By editor • Nov 24, 2019 . An image of the vast stretch of mangroves at Charkop | © DLS/WikiCommons, By Patrice78500 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons, © 2013 The Mangrove Cell, Maharashtra Forest Department. They are specially adapted to withstand salinity, wave action, and can grow in poor soils. Related Program: Covering an area of 2,000 hectares, Vikhroli’s mangroves form one of the largest private mangrove forests in Maharashtra (managed by the Godrej Foundation since the 1940s). They store four times as much carbon as other forests, which can mitigate the effects of climate change. KUMAR: At a time when you require more and more mangroves, we are destroying, unfortunately, more and more mangroves. All rights reserved. Earlier, major Industrial wastes used to be dumped into the Sea. Restoration of Degraded Wetlands. Mumbai coastal area always had some of the other challenges. Young people in Mumbai are taking action to protect the city's vanishing mangrove forests. But in those floods, he realized how important they are for human survival. Besides Navi Mumbai, the main mangrove-regions of Mumbai are: Vasai Creek, Thane Creek, Manori and Malad, Mahim, Bandra, Versova, Sweree and Mumbra-Diva. Mumbai has set aside 224 hectares (ha) of mangroves as reserve forests. According to the Mangrove Society of India (MSI), the mangroves in Airoli and Vikhroli are counted among the 12 unique mangrove forests in the country. Why Mumbai Needs More Mangroves . Others are smaller shrubs. The city is blessed with lush, green mangroves, trees that … PATHAK: These mangroves are dying, says environmentalist B.N. Being a fisherman, I know the importance and values of mangroves. Some estimates say 70% of the city's mangroves have been lost to development. The cell has deemed the Thane creek as a flamingo sanctuary, with a view to promote eco-tourism and create awareness. July 26 also marks the UNSECO-driven International Mangroves Protection and Conservation Day. You may even be lucky enough to spot rare migratory birds too. Without its mangroves, coastal Mumbai vulnerable to flooding. Copyright © 2019 NPR. B N KUMAR: Very sad to see these mangroves dying like this. Now you can only see them in nurseries. It was the British who, upon realizing the strategic and commercial importance of the islands of the Arabian Sea, ordered for the clearing of the mangroves that rimmed the once-separated islands … He points to their water source, a small channel blocked with construction debris from a highway that's being built. They alert Pawar if they spot anyone dumping garbage or encroaching on mangrove areas, and he calls the authorities. Mission Mangroves. The … Until such plans see the light of day, it is always possible to stop by these shrubby jungles next time you happen to pass them. NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. NPR's Mumbai producer Sushmita Pathak brings us this report from a mangrove nursery. In 2015, United Way Mumbai (UWM) launched the Mission Mangroves campaign, with the aim to restore Mumbai's depleted mangrove cover, which serves as a protective shield from natural disasters like floods, cyclones, tsunamis, etc. Roots of the Water World Mangrove forests have a unique character of floating foliage and roots. This is not the first time that the authorities in Mumbai have taken a step that is indifferent towards the environment and the residents. KUMAR: Free water flow from the channel there - they stopped it for expansion of the highway. The bullet train is expected to destroy at least 30,000 mangroves. They want more highways and better infrastructure. We have partnered with the Mangrove Cell of the State Forest Department and the Mangrove and Marine Biodiversity Conservation Foundation to … Back at the mangrove nursery, Seema Adgaonkar, the former forest ranger, says Mumbai needs many, many more people like Pawar if its mangroves are to survive. Mangroves in and around Mumbai have undergone massive destruction. In Maharashtra, ongoing efforts to protect mangroves, both public and private, have been exemplary. Not many people know about them, and unfortunately, the fast-paced city life greatly inhibits any further interaction. They act as breeding grounds for fish. Let’s remind ourselves of the importance of mangroves for the entire city – Mumbai metropolitan Region (MMR). PATHAK: "Mangroves are like soldiers, guarding the coast from rising seas," she says. PATHAK: A little further down the coast from the nursery, the scene is more typical of Mumbai's mangroves nowadays - dry, leafless branches along the highway. Kumar points to a new report by climate change researchers that predicts much of Mumbai will be underwater by 2050. Back at the mangrove nursery, Seema Adgaonkar, the former forest ranger, says Mumbai needs many, many more people like Pawar if its mangroves are to … Hidden away in the bosom of the mangrove patch between Bandra and the Maharashtra Nature Park is a system of fishing pools built by the Kolis two decades ago.
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