Coastal & Marine Protected Areas project celebrates World Mangrove Day in Mumbai

A one day convention on mangroves was organised on Sunday, 26th July 2015, in Mumbai, Maharashtra, to increase awareness on mangrove conservation issues at Thane Creek and to promote sustainable development in its vicinity. Thane Creek is one of the sites of the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Existing and Potential Coastal and Marine Protected Areas (CMPA) Project in Maharashtra. CMPA is a flagship project of GIZ’s Biodiversity Programme supporting the CBD’s Aichi targets.

The convention was organised by the Mangrove Cell Maharashtra and the Paryavaran Dakshata Manch (PDM) at B.N. Bandodkar College, Thane. Collaborators included the Mangroves Society of India; B.N. Bandodkar College; K.G. Somaiya College of Commerce and Science and Association of Teachers in Biological Sciences. The convention was attended by over 200 participants including leading academicians, activists, and local stakeholders. Eminent speakers included Dr. Arvind Untawale, Secretary of Mangrove Society of India, Dr. Prasad Karnik, President – PDM, Dr. Sanjay Deshmukh, Vice chancellor of Mumbai University, Dr. Raghunandan Athalye, Vice-Principal, B.N. Bandodkar College, Prof. V. Walavalkar – Gen. Secretary of PDM, Mr. N. Vasudevan, Chief Conservator Officer, Mangrove Cell, and Dr. Asad Rahmani Director of Bombay Natural History Society who was the chief guest.  The newsletter – ‘Mangalvan’ was released, two short films, ‘Clean Creek Movement’ and ‘Khadi Yatra’ were screened, and an informative photo-exhibition about mangroves was also inaugurated.

Mr. Vasudevan stated that Thane creek will be notified as a Flamingo Sanctuary soon and regulated tourism will be encouraged. Dr. Rahmani emphasised the need to implement a Wetland Conservation Act and stated that mudflats also should be given the same importance as mangroves.

Mr. Nandakumar Pawar, President of the fisherman association (Macchimar Sanghatna) discussed the relationship between the fishing community and mangroves. Mr. Dongriwala, a salt pan owner spoke about the changes in mangroves and creek water. Prof. Clara Correia spoke about the avian biodiversity of thane creek and encroachments. Mr. Pravartak Pathak – an advocate with Mumbai High Court, and Mr. Vinod K Punshi President Navi Mumbai Environment Preservation Society, threw light on the legal aspects related to Thane Creek and mangroves. Mr. Hemant Karkhanis, Head of Soonabai Pirojsha Godrej Marine Ecology Centre, talked about mangrove forests conservation. Dr. Vikas Hajirnis, Trustee - Paryavaran Dakshata Manch, spoke about the NGO approach to conservation. The day ended with a summation by Dr. Prasad Karnik and a vote of thanks by Dr. Madhuri Pejaver, Dean of Mumbai University.

(Photo : Mr. Vasudevan speaks about the significance of Thane creek)