• Vanashakti is a Mumbai based Non Profit Environmental NGO founded by ordinary citizens who want to do something for India & Indians. We believe that middle class India has to play a role in ensuring proper governance. We need to make people aware that they have a stake in the world around them. They must be educated so that they can then take informed decisions. We believe that if we create informed awareness, people will be able to take a stand on issues that could impact them.• Vanashakti was born because we believe that India can progress only as long as her people are nurtured. India can progress only as long as her environment is nurtured. For that, the Government needs a watchdog. Not an external body but an internal body. A group of concerned citizens. Not big business, not lumpen elements that can be bought for a few rupees but the average Joe who has had enough of being taken for granted.• Vanashakti is a platform where likeminded people can come together to debate, discuss & campaign to build public awareness. Vanashakti is a Public Information Initiative (PII). PIIs have helped open our eyes to a number of issues that would otherwise be swept under the carpet. PIIs seek to inform all the constituents of the interplay between factors. We start with creating awareness of major issues. We recognize the need for people to be aware of various developments and changes made by our Government, in the Laws and Legislation that govern us. 19/21, Unique Industrial Estate, Twin Towers Lane, Prabhadevi, Mumbai-400025 Tel. No. - +91-9820232302, +91-22-65291089, Fax .No. +91-22-66602333 Web: www.vanashakti.in, Email:email@example.com
VANASHAKTI –ACTIVITY STRUCTURE VANASHAKTI Environment Education Sustainable Conservation & Outreach Livelihoods Coasts Western Paper Bags MSW Urban Rural Ghats Project Flamingo ESZ TribalSEZ Sanctuary Sewri Mining Schools General Committee Public Education
Flamingo Sanctuary Thane Creek houses a number of birds both on migratory and resident. Habitat fragmentation, loss of habitat and pollution have lead to the depletion in numbers. Vanashakti petitions to the Forest Ministry for protection of bird habitat. The Ministry gives in principle approval for declaration of the Creek (Thane to Sewri) as a Flamingo Sanctuary within the next 2 years. Project being pursued by the Maharashtra Forest Department.
Mulund-Thane SEZ• Land reclassified from CRZ-I to CRZ-III.• Handed over for construction of an SEZ in prime mangrove location.• Concerned Govt. Departments: MCZMA, MCGM, Environment Department• Jeopardy: Dumping of solid waste on adjacent mangroves by the MCGM!• Vanashakti petitions all concerned authorities to inspect the site and cancel the ECs.• No response. Vanashakti moves court.• Hon’bl High Court order: 5th Jan, 2012 interim order to stop all dumping activites on the site.• Status: Work stopped. Case is being heard.
Sewri Mangroves Sewri Mangrove Park declared by BPT in 1997. Was supposed to develop the area to showcase mangroves and Flamingo habitat. Reality: 30 Hectares of mangroves completely wiped out and the entire belt in danger of getting destroyed. Vanashakti investigates the issue and files complaints with MoEF, MCZMA, State Environment Department, Forest Department, MPCB etc. Hindustan Times carries a front page story on the issue. News report seen by Chief Justice of Mumbai High Court. The court issues suo motto notices to the State Government. MCZMA files an affidavit stating that blockage of water due to bunding and effluents killed the mangroves which was untrue. Real culprit: The improper location and storage of coking coal by BPT in the immediate vicinity. Vanashakti files its intervention application in the matter and is accepted. Court is appraised of the realities and on Vanashakti’s request appoints NEERI to investigate the site and submit its report. NEERI submits its report which confirms Vanashakti’s assertions. Joint site visits done with government officials (FD, MCZMA, MPCB, BPT) and scientists from NEERI. Status: Case is being regularly heard.
Mining in Sindhudurg• 49 mining leases proposed in the Sawantwadi- Dodamarg region of the Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra.• The region being an integral part of the Sahyadri Konkan Wildlife Corridor.• The Corridor used by Schedule I species of wildlife including the National Animal (Tiger), State Animal (Malabar Giant Squirrel),National Bird (Indian Peafowl) and herds of migrating Elephants.• Corridor threatened by mining leases that will permanently mutilate and perforate this habitat.
Vanashakti conducts regular visits to the region, meetings with villagers, co- ordination with local press and electronic media. meetings with concerned Govt. officials (Forest Department, Government Secretaries etc). sustained media campaigns on national and state News channels (NDTV, TV9, IBN-Lokmat) and print media (Times of India, Hindustan Times, DNA, Time Out Sakal, Tarun Bharat etc.). gathered information and helped put together facts for the PIL filed in the Bombay High Court under the Awaaz Foundation to get an ESA status for the region.
Results. Honorable High Court places moratorium on projects till 31ST March 2012. WGEEP Report produced after court orders to the MoEF (MoEF was reluctant to share the report). Status: Case being heard regularly.
Location of the Sahyadri Konkan corridor and proposed ESA
ESZ Committee Based on the directions of the Western Ghats Ecology Experts Panel (WGEEP) Report, the Maharashtra State Forest Department began constituting Ecologically Sensitive Zones (ESZs) around PAs in the State. Vanashakti gets included in the committee for the Tungareshwar ESZ. Constitution of the Committee: State Forest Department, District Administration, Gram Panchayats and Municipalities wherever applicable and an NGO. Vanashakti’s Role: To give recommendations on permissible activities in the ESZ
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Dumping of non segregated municipal solid waste on wetlands lead to the leaching of toxins in the wetlands and creeks. Repeated requests to concerned central and state government departments, agencies and bodies yielded no results. After six months of trying the government to act a PIL was filed in the Honorable High Court of Bombay challenging the Environment Clearance to the project and non compliance to the MSW (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000. Case is being heard on a regular basis.
BROAD OUTLINEMangroves and Wetland InterpretationTerrestrial Forest InterpretationThematic WorkshopFisher folks of MumbaiInterschool Teachers Quiz ContestWorld Wetland DayMahashivratri VigilGandhi Jayanti Celebration
Mangrove & Wetland Interpretation Trails1. Identification and understanding of:• Mangroves• Bird (waders, canopy dwellers, raptors)• Reptiles• Shell and fin fishes• Coastal communities (Agri-Koli) and fisheries2. Estuarine and creek geography and ecology.3. Importance of mangroves and wetlands.4. Threats and conservation measures.
Terrestrial Forest Interpretation1. Biogeography of India.2. Flora and fauna of terrestrial forests.3. Identification of visible and audible fauna and flora.4. Jungle survival.5. Threats to forests.6. Conservation issues and measures for PAs.
Thematic Workshops1. Workshops on the following environmental themes amongst others:• Flora and fauna• Mangrove ecosystem• Local fishing communities• Avifaunal diversity2. Interactive sessions like quiz, debates etc.
Fisher folks of Mumbai1. An insight into the lives of the fishing communities of Mumbai, the Agri and Koli communities.2. Field visit to the creek areas and fishing jetties.3. An informative session on the need for mangroves as a source of economy and livelihood to the fishing communities.
Teachers’ Quiz Contest on Environment1. Interschool quiz on environment and forests of India.2. Two rounds – Selection (intra school) and final (inter school).• Round 1: Written with MCQs• Round 2: Oral.
Mangrove Clean-up (2011)1. Clean up drive in the mangroves of Mumbai city (Bhandup).2. Approx. 200 acres of mangroves were rid of non- biodegradable waste using the help of the local fishing community volunteers.3. Approx. 450 kg of waste comprising plastics, biomedical waste, rubber slippers etc. were collected.4. Joint initiative between Vanashakti, Maharashtra State Forest Dept. (Thane forest circle), MCGM, Ekvira Aai Pratishthan (local NGO).
Wetland Day –Banners (2011)1. Informative banners on the importance of wetlands, their biodiversity, and on mangroves were put up on the premises of the Maharashtra State Forest Department (Thane Forest Circle) and the residential areas (adjoining mangrove forests) of the Dahisar Link Road.
Mangrove Clean-up (2012)1. Clean up drive in the mangroves of Mumbai city (Bhandup).2. Approx. 100 acres of mangroves were rid of non- biodegradable waste using the help of the local fishing community volunteers.3. Approx. 300 kg of waste comprising plastics, biomedical waste, rubber slippers, thermocol etc. were collected.4. Joint initiative between Vanashakti, Mangrove Society of India (MSI) Maharashtra State Forest Dept. (Thane forest circle), MCGM and Ekvira Aai Pratishthan (local NGO).
Wetland Banner (2012) The Maharashtra State Forest Department unveiled a signage announcing World Wetland Day. The PCCF and other senior forest officials attended the program. The signage was unveiled at the Mulund Airoli Link Road. Vanashakti was an invitee to the occasion.
Mangrove Walk (2012) Wetland interpretation trail for the general public was announced. Around 20 people joined the two hours trail in the mangrove forests of Bhandup, Mumbai. Participants were briefed about the importance of mangroves for the city, their floral and faunal diversity etc. Various wetland birds, insects and lesser mammals were spotted and identified. A joint initiative between Vanashakti, MSI-Mumbai Chapter and other supporting partners.
Wetland Birds’ Identification1. Sessions organized for the general public in the creek area (Thane Creek an IBA) of Airoli, Navi Mumbai.2. A session on bird identification, habitat use and preferences, breeding and feeding behaviors, and migratory behaviors and routes.
Mahashivratri Vigil Regulating the flow of pilgrims in the forest. Confiscation of plastic bags and other non-biodegradables and matchboxes from the pilgrims. Prevention of forest fires. Educating the masses on the need to protect the forests. Newspaper bags were distributed this year in lieu of the plastic bags confiscated from the pilgrims.
Gandhi Jayanti Celebration Presentations on effects of consumerism on the natural resources of our country. Presented to two schools of Mumbai. Theme- Consumerism v/s Environmentalism. Gandhian principles of simple living against today’s high consumerism and its impact on the natural resources, ecosystems, landscape of the country and on the lives of the inhabitants of rural and tribal areas , were highlighted in the presentation.
Environmental Sensitization Workshop A three-day orientation session on environment for the tribal students of Wada taluka (a predominantly tribal area facing rapid destruction of forests, amongst other environmental issues), Thane district. Classroom sessions, backyard ecology sessions, self study and report-making. Laid a base for a year-round education plan for the tribal school students of the region.
Environmental Education Program for the Adivasi Communities of Wada taluka, Maharashtra A year round environmental education program for the 8th and 9th grades of Wada taluka. Program run in six schools. An in house syllabus made for the program. Modules: Classroom sessions (interactives, group discussions, audio visuals), nature discovery trails, backyard ecology, do-it-yourself, projects and report making. Program run successfully and schools have requested for its continuation in the coming academic year.
Bark Autographs: Tracing bark signatures of various specie sof trees. Awareness of the Senses: What I need in a Day : A mini LCA. Listing a days requirements and assessing its origin, manufacturing process if any, life span and disposal. Animals in my Village: Documenting the amphibians, reptiles, Plants in my Village Landscapes and Ecosystems in my Village and its Neighbourhood Map Making School Clean-up Environmental News
Leadership in Biodiversity and Conservation A summer program for the 8th graders of our EE high schools in the Wada taluka, Maharashtra. Training students apply their knowledge about the environment and natural sciences to conserve their village ecosystems and landscapes. Contents: Local Environmental Degradation, Local Water Resource, Local Biodiversity (Avifauna and Megaflora) and Biological Evolution. A 3 weeks program (ongoing) now extended for a week more upon the school’s and the participants’ request. Classroom sessions, group discussions, audio-visuals, interactives and field visits.
Initiatives for the next academic year…….. The participants formulated Environmental Codes and an Environment Management Plan for the school (codes, laws and penalties formulated in the summer program). Handmade paper will be made from waste paper from the school dustbin (a successful attempt was made in the summer program). A monthly school environmental newsletter in Marathi will be brought out (news gathering, editing, proof reading an layout were learnt in the summer program).
School Environmental Code of ConductSr. No. Code of Conduct Justification There will be dustbins in each classroom and There was no dustbin system and waste was 1. in the school compound. thrown around anywhere in the school compound Waste will be strictly thrown in the dustbins. It is a regular practice to litter the classrooms, 2. the school compound and the adjoining areas with solid waste Waste from the dustbins will be segregated 3. every day, separating paper and seeds. 4. One sided papers will be retained for re-use 5. Waste paper will be collected for making hand-made papers periodically 6. Seeds will be dispersed. Whist burning off solid waste (the only method of disposal), seeds also get burnt which means many potential trees. 7. Waste will not be burnt under trees but in The only way to dispose off solid waste of every open spaces with supervision. kind in the villages is to burn it. 8. Each grade will have an Environmental monitor. 9. A copy of the code of conduct will be put up in each classroom, notice boards and the school office.
Tools and Techniques in Wildlife Conservation A Diwali vacation program for the 9th graders of our EE high schools in the Wada taluka, Maharashtra. Trained the participants to solve environmental issues using scientific methods. This program was a supplement to ‘Leadership in Biodiversity and Conservation’. Contents: Wildlife Census Methods (Line Transect, Belt Transect, Quadrat, Point Count, Open land, Waterhole); Use of online avifaunal databases, faunal field guides and field gears (Binoculars, GPS, sleeping bag). Classroom sessions, group discussions, audio- visuals, interactives and field visits.
Manufacture of Paper Bags with the Aid of Women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs) of Rural India Manufacture of newspaper bags as a suitable substitute for plastic bags to be distributed to the pilgrims visiting the Shiva temples located in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai on the occasion of Mahashivratri. 14’’ x 12’’ newspaper bags with coir handles were manufactured. Work was assigned to the women of Self Help Groups (SHGs) of the Wada taluka of Maharashtra. Work to the SHGs was assigned by the Learning Space Foundation, an NGO providing supplementary education in the predominantly tribal belt of Maharashtra. 5000 bags were manufactured for the occasion.