The actvists have alleged that a large swathe of wetland has already been reclaimed by dumping debris.
Mumbai: Illegal reclamation has started yet again, with a huge amount of debris being dumped in the Panje and Uran wetlands despite the mangrove committee’s orders to stop it.
The activists have now written to the chief minister and state forest department regarding the landfilling underway at holding pond number 1 in Panje.
They have alleged that a large swathe of wetland has already been reclaimed by dumping debris.
“These wetlands near Panje, Dongri, Boripakhadi and Funde are essentially, holding ponds meant to control floods in the region. Twenty villages experienced floods this monsoon, with many villages in the Dronagiri node and Uran taluka experiencing unseasonal flooding on a regular basis due to illegal reclamation and landfilling,” said Nandakumar Pawar, a Navi Mumbai-based environmentalist.
Locals alleged that around 100 trucks were found dumping debris in the wetlands.
The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) had stated in its affidavit in the Bombay high court that both holding ponds, due to the presence of mangrove cover, came under CRZ 1 category.
“Any activities in these pond areas need examination and scrutiny. Even the high court-appointed committee said that the wetlands near Panje must be protected despite not being notified as such,” Mr Pawar said.
The wetlands are essentially salt pans and marshy areas designated as government fishing land.
“We have already asked City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) to restore the reclaimed wetland site in Uran. We will inspect the site at Panje and take action against the miscreants," said a senior official from the forest department.