Panvel: City-based environmentalists raised a stink over Panvel Municipal Corporation's plans to beautify Vadale lake in the city and the light pollution. They said that the civic agency is planning to install additional artificial illumination which may be detrimental to native and migratory birds that flock there.
Light pollution essentially means the presence of excessive artificial lighting.
Responding to complaint registered by NatConnect Foundation, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in response has intervened and asked Pravin Darde, principal secretary of Environment Department to probe into the matter.
PMC had drawn up plans for illuminating the lake and its surroundings ignoring the existence of hundreds of birds in the water and on the trees around, NatConnect Foundation complained to the CM.
"Beautification is fine, but sir it does not have any meaning without the natural beauty,” the NatConnect director told the CM in his email.
“Instead of containing the light pollution, we in Panvel are going to witness increased light pollution thus affecting the avian guests which rest either in the water or on the trees around,” NatConnect director BN Kumar said in the letter.
Fellow environmentalist Jyoti Nadkarni, who took up the issue with the PMC as well, pointed out, it is a matter of pride that “we have such a nature-given gift in the heart of an urban area, yet, with a short-sighted approach, we are destroying it."
“Our people spend lakhs of rupees to go abroad to see such beauty and here, we are spending lakhs of rupees to kill biodiversity,” she added.
The Panvel lake, other than being a heritage site, is also a rich biodiversity spot where numerous species of local and migrant birds not only roost there but also nest and breed.
There are several species with their fledgling residing in the thickets of the grass and weeds of which some are IUCN threatened, vulnerable rare species some which have made a comeback to the city after 10 up 12 years, Nadkarni pointed out.
"In the West, such places in the city are given special protection and it is a matter of pride that wildlife resides in the heart of such a populated city. But unfortunately, everywhere in our country we destroy the setting and pay hefty amount to go fly abroad,” she argued.
In the age of Sustainable Development, PMC seems to be promoting thousands of harsh LED lights in the name of artificial beautification and rampantly destroying nature's precious beauty which is needed for our survival, Nadkarni said.
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