Local Goa News

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bad days for mangroves

PANAJI: Rising reclamation of mangrove habitats for infrastructure and other purposes has threatened the very existence of these trees and shrubs in the state.
Mangroves are a host to coastal natural resources and have been under heightened risk. They are a habitat for commercially valuable marine species, and it is estimated that reclamation of every hectare of a mangrove habitat leads to the loss of about 480 kg of fish.
Patto area in the capital city, which is blessed with lush green mangroves along the Mandovi river, is presently finding itself in a precarious condition.
“Although on a smaller scale, but there are several cases of mangrove habitat reclamation, and pollution at Patto area,” Dr Vinod Dhargalkar of the Mangrove Society of India said.
Mangrove area is considered as forest and also protected under CRZ Rules. It is therefore recommended that the forest department should take necessary action for conservation and protection of mangroves.
A forest official said the forest department has made reforestation efforts along the Mandovi riverbank in an area admeasuring 10000 sq mts covering a distance of about 400 metres out of 3.2 km of the length of the Ribandar causeway.
According to the MSI, large-scale felling of mangroves at the northern periphery of the upcoming mangrove park near the Kadamba bus stand and along the highway towards the GMC will be carried out for constructing piers of the third Mondovi bridge.
The society, which has studied the impact of ongoing construction of the third Mandovi bridge, has estimated that more than 100 mangroves will be felled on either side of the proposed bridge.
Apart from this, transportation of heavy vehicles and construction materials for the new bridge will also affect around 40 mangroves in the vicinity.
Consequently, around 150 mangroves will be affected.
Yet in another case, the Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd has been directed by the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority to replant five times the number of mangroves destroyed for constructing the proposed bridge across the Rue de Ourem creek in Panaji.
However, the GCZMA has granted the permission for felling about 20 mangroves which are coming within the alignment of the proposed bridge.
A study report states that developmental projects have not only destroyed traditional land management practices and the local environment but have also continued to devastate the livelihood of coastal residents and people, who have traditionally depended on the mangroves for food, shelter and forest produce.
It must be noted here that neither the National Institute of Oceanography nor the MSI has prepared any data on damage/destruction to the mangroves in the state.
The organizations do not have any data about the mangrove habitats which existed in the past and the mangroves which have been under threat.
Mangrove ecosystem supports a variety or organisms that inhabit these trees and shrubs or at least spend some part of their lifespan. Mangroves provide a variety of food for microorganisms, crustaceans, mollusks and are a refuge from predators for many species.
Many commercial and non-commercial fish and some prawn species feed and breed in mangroves, which also act as natural barriers and even protect habitations in coastal villages from hurricanes, typhoons and floods.
Mangroves have great potential for medicinal use for their antifungal, antibacterial and pesticide properties.

NT Network Goa News

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