Environmental groups’ campaigns to save Uran mangroves and the Parsik Hill brought laurels at the 15th Annual 2023 Golden Bridge Awards of the US. NatConnect Foundation campaign 'Resurrection after destruction – mangroves rise again without human intervention’ has been adjudged for Gold under the startup of the year category.
Another group’s relentless efforts to check cutting of the Parsik Hill slopes which had led to the intervention of the State Human Rights Commission has won a bronze at the Globee Golden Bridge awards.
US' Golden Bridge Awards
"This prestigious recognition programme honours the trailblazers, disruptors, and visionaries who have pushed the boundaries of possibility and made significant contributions to their respective fields," said San Madan, President of Globee Awards.
"From cutting-edge technology advancements to ground-breaking marketing campaigns, the Golden Bridge Awards provide a platform to showcase and celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of these organizations," she said. The rigorous judging process involved over 350 industry experts from around the world, representing diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
NatConnect Foundation's campaign to restore mangroves in Uran
NatConnet’s communication drive, in association with Sagar Shakti, was to ensure restoration of the intertidal flow that was blocked during the expansion of NH348 in Uran leading to the death of over 5,000 mangroves.
NatConnect director B N Kumar said that the environmental groups had appealed to the High Court-appointed Mangrove Committee, the Chief Minister and finally Union Roads and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.
The water flow was gradually restored and “this is a classic example of how nature heals itself,” Kumar said.
Nandakumar Pawar, head of Sagarshakti, said the mangroves at this spot sprouted all over again without any human intervention or plantation. This clearly proved that with the uninterrupted flow of intertidal water, mangroves thrive.
Other pro-mangrove campaigns
Similarly, at another spot at Pagote in Uran taluka, hundreds of mangroves over ten acres in the NMSEZ area were killed, against which the environmental groups raised an alarm. But the tidal plants grew on their own as further work on the wetland was halted due to pressure from the whistleblowers.
The campaign across media and social media highlighted the importance of mangroves for the protection of the coastal area and for fulfilling the needs of the traditional fishing community. The Globee Awards mentioned that apart from Kumar and Pawar, fishing community representatives Dilip Koli and Tukaram Koli formed part of the NatConnect drive.
Saving Parsik Hill that won the bronze
As regards Parsik Hill, the commission took suo motu notice of media reports based on the environmentalists’ concern over threat of landslides due to the slope cutting under the guise of beautification. The Human Rights Commission (HRC) summoned CIDCO, the environment and forest departments, Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) and the police commissioner. HRC pulled up CIDCO for its inaction following which the city planner submitted that it has acted against an erring private builder.
“Our campaign brought into sharp focus the threat to over 100 buildings on top of the hill which was being cut in the middle and the NMMC confirmed the excavation in its probe report,” said Vishnu Joshi of Parsik Greens group. The group volunteers Rajesh Lokhande, Jayant Thakur and Sahana Dandin have kept the momentum going.
“Our consistent efforts are to increase awareness among the people to be alert against threats to the environment from various quarters,” NatConnect said.