Conserve Kharghar, DPS wetlands, too, for air safety: BNHS

The 139-year-old nature research body founded by Dr Salim Ali has been studying the bird flight pattern in view of the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) as a project assigned by CIDCO

Amit SrivastavaUpdated: Friday, April 29, 2022, 08:51 PM IST
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Kharghar wetland | Pic credit: NatConnect

With the safety of birds and aircrafts in sharp focus, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has added two more wetlands at Kharghar and Nerul to the list of six water bodies to be conserved under the satellite wetland management plan for Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary (TCFS). Environmentalists say that this is a big development and reinforce their campaign to save the wetlands in the city.

BNHS has earlier listed the wetlands at Belpada, Bhendkhal, Panje-Funde in Uran, NRI-TS Chanakya in Nerul and the Bhandup pumping station for conservation to allow migratory and local birds to roost and nest.

The 139-year-old nature research body founded by Dr Salim Ali has been studying the bird flight pattern in view of the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) as a project assigned by CIDCO.

BNHS scientist Mrugank Prabhu has confirmed that his team found several species of birds such as Black-tailed Godwit, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Marsh sandpiper and Curlew Sandpiper at a wetland near Sanjivani School, Kharghar. BNHS also tracked flamingos and other birds at the wetland adjoining of Delhi Public School in Nerul.

“This is a big development and reinforces our campaign to save the wetlands,” said B N Kumar, director of NatConnect Foundation. He had also sent a request through an email to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to order for conserving all the wetlands.

BNHS, which will add the Kharghar and DPS Nerul sites to its list in its next reports, has been repeatedly saying that the wetlands have to be protected to allow the birds to roost and nest. Any change in the wetland status will lead to erratic movement of thousands of birds and this could interfere with the safety of aircraft at NMIA.

Green activist Naresh Chandra Singh of Kharghar said that he sincerely hoped that the BNHS word will be taken seriously and the biodiversity areas will be preserved.

“For long mangroves and wetlands of Kharghar have been neglected despite our complaints and requests to save them,” said Jyoti Nadkarni, another Kharghar-based green activist. She expressed the hope that the people will join the movement to protect the environment to keep up pressure on authorities.

Meanwhile, BNHS studies at Belpada wetland showed that the bird pattern there has been consistent. BNHS tags the birds to track their movements. Their study has confirmed time and again the avian visitors’ typical characteristic called site fidelity – of returning to the same site.

Six wetlands as per the satellite wetland management plan for TCFS

Belpada in Uran Taluka

Bhendkhal in Uran

Panje-Funde in Uran

NRI Wetland in Nerul

TS Chanakya wetland in Nerul

Bhandup pumping station

Two New wetlands

Wetland behind DPS, Nerul

Kharghar wetland at sector 16, opposite Sanjivani School

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