World Environment Day: Activists call for urgent measures to stop destruction of Mumbai

Mumbai: Environmentalists in the city have called for urgent measures to stop the overall destruction of the environment by stopping the landfill for Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) SEZ, quarrying of Parsik Hills, destruction of trees on Aarey forest and pollution of rivers in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region area.

In a media seminar held on the World Environment Day on Tuesday, activists further stressed how the communities living and dependent on such eco-sensitive areas for their livelihood have been affected the most. For instance, the destruction of wetlands for development of Navi Mumbai SEZ has rendered around 1,500 fisherfolk jobless. Nandakumar Pawar, founder director of Shri Ekavira Aai Pratishtan (SEAP), said, “It beats common sense how authorities are working on a new special economic zone when a similar project called NMSEZ is languishing in the neighbourhood.”

He alleged that nearly 20,000kg of plastic was being dumped into the sea every day in the JNPT area. Environmentalists stressed that planting more trees, protecting the environment and coming together to fight for the environment was the bare minimum Mumbaikars could do. They further suggested that there was a need to implement scientific traffic management to curtail air and noise pollution.

“Nothing has worked in favour of the environment. The top priority is to form numerous watchdogs and pressure groups which can make a positive difference,” Shardul Bajikar, naturalist.

Speaking on destruction, a few activists raised the issue of the random quarrying in Thane’s Parsik Hills, which they alleged had been ‘plundered beyond limit.’ “We are not against infrastructure development but strongly believe it should not be at the cost of our environment,” said BN Kumar, communication activist and chairman of Public Relations Council of India, which had organised the seminar.

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