Mumbai Trans Harbour Link to kill Flamingo Habitat
The proposed Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) project which is to link Nhava Sheva in Raigad district with Sewri in Mumbai will adversely affect the mangroves in the area and will impact the flamingos that visit Sewri every year. According to the project proponents about 47 hectares of mangrove forests have to be sacrificed. Taking congnisance of this issue, on 24th November the MoEF&CC (Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change) has asked the MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority) to get this project cleared from the Maharashtra State Wildlife Board.
Though MMRDA has been requested to change the alignment, they are adamant in not changing the alignment. Sources say that they fear cost escalation if they change the alignment. Flamingos prefer to feed and rest farther from the bridge and traffic as can be seen in Thane and Vashi. They are comfortable if the traditional fishing boats come close. However, the moment motor boats come about 100m they start flying away. It would not be a wise move to further fragment their habitat by constructing the Nhava Sheva to Sewri Mumbai Trans Harbour link. The construction, deposition of debris, noise will act as a death knell for the flamingos. Furthermore, one can plant mangroves, however, one cannot create a forest as there are very complex ecological interactions between various species in these forests and to understand and replicate it in a new place is simply to impossible. Given the focus on greenlighting infrastructure projects by this Government, one won’t be surprised if the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link project gets the greenlight.