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Thane loses its green cover to illegal aquaculture venture

INDIA - Thane's largest mangrove patch is being furiously destroyed and already has two illegal aquaculture pits and three sheds have been constructed.

A buffer between land and sea, mangroves protect the city from flooding by absorbing excess rainwater. Two years ago the Bombay High Court prohibited any construction up to 50m around mangroves area, but that's now changed.

Ramnayak Bole, who is making aquaculture pits, said: “The property is mine and the collector’s office has given me permission to make aquaculture pits.”

However, Thane collector S.S. Zende denied this. “We have not given permission for any aquaculture pits. Though we don’t have a flying squad, we will look into the matter immediately,” Zende said.

Environmentalists argue that aquaculture will affect ecological balance. “This is a clear violation. Chemicals will be added to the pits and the water will be flushed into the mangroves and will destroy them,” said Rishi Aggarwaal, Joint Secretary, Mangrove Society of India, Mumbai.

“Mangroves double up as a sink — when it rains, they absorb the excess rainwater and prevent flooding and the city already has a dearth of natural storm water drains," said Rishi Aggarwaal, Joint Secretary, Mangrove Society of India, Mumbai.

A resident of Dadlani locality in Balkom said: "Nine months ago, I would look out of my window and it was all mangroves. I was shocked to see such large-scale destruction. When I approached my neighbours, they said that if their building was not being harmed, they didn’t care.”

Source: Hindustan Times