Environment Ministry Panel look towards building mangrove cells across all coastal cells

By Hrishit Roy

3rd September 2020

Mangrove forests work as an excellent barrier against natural disasters

(Source: Conservation.org)

Citing that mangroves work as a natural buffer against storm surges, cyclones and rising sea levels, The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) branch of the Ministry of Environment and Forests for Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) has recommended that more formations of different kinds of Mangrove cells should be set across the coastal states in a fashion similar to that of Maharashtra so that the mangroves can be protected in a better way.

Mangroves, being salt-tolerant, play a major role in the ecosystem by being a breeding ground for various aquatic animals. More importantly, they act as a barrier against storm surges, cyclones and rising sea levels.

Because of these indispensable properties, their conservation is of utmost importance and the need for a specific cell under the forest department is needed in order to safeguard the mangrove forest patches and appraise the planned projects that revolve around these mangrove trees. This can be done through detailed site verification of the affected mangroves trees, stated the EAC while adding that Maharashtra already has such a cell, because of which the ecology conservation of the Mangroves in the state is a lot better than most other coastal places.

Deepak Apte, the chairman of EAC’s CRZ branch has stated that the well-established model of the Maharashtra government, that has a recognised institutional framework, having been constituted in protecting the mangrove covers is the best way forward.

The Mangrove cell of Maharashtra was constituted in 2012 on the basis of an order passed by the Mumbai High Court in 2005 that banned the destruction of Mangrove forests across the state and also banned construction within a 50-metre radius of the trees.

The cell is responsible for the declaration and the protection for the entire 17 sq. km stretch of the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary and the protection of the Malvan Marine Sanctuary. Recently, it also proposed 2,011 sq. km Angrea Bank to be turned into a protected area, which got approved by the State Board of Wildlife last month.

Over the eight years since the inception of the cell and five years since the foundation was constituted, Maharashtra recorded the highest increase in mangrove cover among any of the other Indian states.

Sources – Hindustan Times World News Monitor.

Edited by Sagarika Satapathy

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