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State body to visit Kanjur dump, check for wetland destruction

Hindustan Times, Mumbai, 25th April, 2013

Following a complaint this week by non-government organisation Vanashakti that raised concerns about destruction of wetlands inside the Kanjurmarg dumping ground, officials from the state environment department said a committee of the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) will visit the site in the coming days.

Vanashakti in its complaint had drawn attention to the “reclamation of water bodies and wetlands outside the 65 hectares granted for dumping waste.”

After going through the complaint sent this week, the environment department has decided to form a sub-committee of the MCZMA to visit the site to look at the claims made in the NGO’s complaint.

“We have gone through the complaint and decided to constitute a sub-committee of the MCZMA that will inspect the landfill site. As far as I know, there are no wetlands per se inside the Kanjurmarg dumping ground, but yes, there are protected mangrove forests. The sub-committee would inspect the site in the next 3-4 days,” said Valsa Nair-Singh, environment secretary. 

Vanashakti, though said that the dumping ground was an erstwhile salt pan and there are small wetlands outside the landfill site’s designated 65 hectares that are getting levelled.

The Kanjurmarg dumping ground is located on an area of 141 hectares, out of which, 65 hectares has been granted for dumping while the rest of the land is comprised of protected mangroves, space for a road around the landfill and a waste composting unit. According to the NGO, “hundreds of trucks are engaged in dumping mud and debris on the water bodies inside the plot.” The NGO also states that though complaints have been made to MCZMA to check the reclamation of the wetlands but no action has been taken yet.

“The problems of wetland reclamation and pollution from the leachate at the site are already being heard in the Bombay high court. A portion of the dumping ground falls in the inter-tidal zone and the reclamation is destroying the wetlands. Even the forest department has accepted on record that mangroves at the site were destroyed. The environment department should stop land-filling at once,” said Stalin D, director (projects), Vanashakti.