Flamingo Sanctuary Thane Creek houses a number of birds both on migratory andresident. Habitat fragmentation, loss of habitat and pollution have leadto the depletion in numbers. Vanashakti petitions to the Forest Ministry for protection ofbird habitat. The Ministry gives in principle approval for declaration of theCreek (Thane to Sewri) as a Flamingo Sanctuary within thenext 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, EnvironmentDepartment Jeopardy: Dumping of solid waste on adjacent mangroves by theMCGM! Vanashakti petitions all concerned authorities to inspect the siteand cancel the ECs. No response. Vanashakti moves court. Hon’bl High Court order: 5th Jan, 2012 interim order to stop alldumping 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 dangerof getting destroyed. Vanashakti investigates the issue and files complaints with MoEF, MCZMA, StateEnvironment Department, Forest Department, MPCB etc. Hindustan Times carries a front page story on the issue. News report seen by ChiefJustice of Mumbai High Court. The court issues suo motto notices to the StateGovernment. MCZMA files an affidavit stating that blockage of water due to bunding and effluentskilled the mangroves which was untrue. Real culprit: The improper location and storage of coking coal by BPT in the immediatevicinity. Vanashakti files its intervention application in the matter and is accepted. Court is appraised of the realities and on Vanashakti’s request appoints NEERI toinvestigate the site and submit its report.NEERI submits its report which confirms Vanashakti’s assertions. Joint site visits donewith 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 ofMaharashtra. The region being an integral part of the SahyadriKonkan Wildlife Corridor. The Corridor used by Schedule I species of wildlifeincluding 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.
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 Newschannels (NDTV, TV9, IBN-Lokmat) and print media (Times ofIndia, Hindustan Times, DNA, Time Out Sakal, Tarun Bharatetc.). gathered information and helped put together facts for thePIL filed in the Bombay High Court under the AwaazFoundation to get an ESA status for the region.Vanashakti Conducts
Results. Honorable High Court places moratorium on projects till 31STMarch 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 ExpertsPanel (WGEEP) Report, the Maharashtra State ForestDepartment began constituting Ecologically Sensitive Zones(ESZs) around PAs in the State. Vanashakti gets included in the committee for theTungareshwar ESZ. Constitution of the Committee: State Forest Department,District Administration, Gram Panchayats and Municipalitieswherever applicable and an NGO. Vanashakti’s Role: To give recommendations on permissibleactivities in the ESZ
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 amongstothers:• 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 ofMumbai, 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 asource of economy and livelihood to the fishingcommunities.
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) Clean up drive in the mangroves of Mumbai city (Bhandup). Approx. 200 acres of mangroves were rid of non-biodegradable waste using the help of the local fishingcommunity volunteers. Approx. 450 kg of waste comprising plastics, biomedicalwaste, rubber slippers etc. were collected. Joint initiative between Vanashakti, Maharashtra StateForest Dept. (Thane forest circle), MCGM, Ekvira AaiPratishthan (local NGO).
Wetland Day –Banners (2011) Informative banners on the importance of wetlands, theirbiodiversity, and on mangroves were put up on the premisesof the Maharashtra State Forest Department (Thane ForestCircle) and the residential areas (adjoining mangrove forests)of the Dahisar Link Road.
Mangrove Clean-up (2012) Clean up drive in the mangroves of Mumbai city (Bhandup). Approx. 100 acres of mangroves were rid of non-biodegradable waste using the help of the local fishingcommunity volunteers. Approx. 300 kg of waste comprising plastics, biomedicalwaste, rubber slippers, thermocol etc. were collected. Joint initiative between Vanashakti, Mangrove Society ofIndia (MSI) Maharashtra State Forest Dept. (Thane forestcircle), MCGM and Ekvira Aai Pratishthan (local NGO).
Wetland Banner (2012) The Maharashtra State Forest Department unveiled a signageannouncing World Wetland Day. The PCCF and other senior forest officials attended theprogram. 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 wasannounced. Around 20 people joined the two hours trail in the mangroveforests of Bhandup, Mumbai. Participants were briefed about the importance of mangrovesfor the city, their floral and faunal diversity etc. Various wetland birds, insects and lesser mammals werespotted and identified. A joint initiative between Vanashakti, MSI-Mumbai Chapterand other supporting partners.
Wetland Birds’ Identification Sessions organized for the general public in the creek area(Thane Creek an IBA) of Airoli, Navi Mumbai. A session on bird identification, habitat use and preferences,breeding and feeding behaviors, and migratory behaviorsand routes.
Mahashivratri Vigil Regulating the flow of pilgrims in the forest. Confiscation of plastic bags and other non-biodegradablesand 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 theplastic bags confiscated from the pilgrims.
Gandhi Jayanti Celebration Presentations on effects of consumerism on the natural resourcesof our country. Presented to two schools of Mumbai. Theme- Consumerism v/s Environmentalism. Gandhian principles of simple living against today’s highconsumerism and its impact on the natural resources, ecosystems,landscape of the country and on the lives of the inhabitants of ruraland tribal areas , were highlighted in the presentation.
Environmental Sensitization Workshop A three-day orientation session on environment for thetribal students of Wada taluka (a predominantly tribal areafacing rapid destruction of forests, amongst otherenvironmental issues), Thane district. Classroom sessions, backyard ecology sessions, self studyand report-making. Laid a base for a year-round education plan for the tribalschool students of the region.
Environmental Education Program for the AdivasiCommunities of Wada taluka, Maharashtra A year round environmental education program for the 8thand 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 itscontinuation in the coming academic year.
Bark Autographs: Tracing bark texture of various species of trees. Awareness of the Senses: An activity in which the child focuses on each of his/her senseseveryday and notes down things that pleases it. It is observed that most of the things that pleasethe 5 senses are natural not man made. 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. Environmental News: Maintaining newspaper cuttings of environmental issues from variousnewspapers Animals in My Village: Documenting the amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and insects. Plants in My Village: Documenting the various plant species and their economic and/or ethnobotanical value. Landscapes and Ecosystems in my Village and its Neighbourhood: Documenting the variousecosystems and their living and non-living components. Map Making: Mapping the school, village, neighbourhood and the nearest town. School Clean-up: Cleaning up the solid waste from the school, segregating and measuring eachcomponent.
Leadership in Biodiversity and Conservation A summer program for the 8th graders of our EE high schools in the Wadataluka, Maharashtra. Training students apply their knowledge about the environment and naturalsciences to conserve their village ecosystems and landscapes. Contents: Local Environmental Degradation, Local Water Resource, LocalBiodiversity (Avifauna and Megaflora) , Biological Evolution, Methods inWildlife Conservation. A 3 weeks program (ongoing) now extended for a week more upon theschool’s and the participants’ request. Classroom sessions, group discussions, audio-visuals, interactives and fieldvisits.
Initiatives for the next academic year The participants formulated Environmental Codes and anEnvironment Management Plan for the school (codes, lawsand penalties formulated in the summer program). Handmade paper will be made from waste paper from theschool dustbin (a successful attempt was made in the summerprogram). A monthly school environmental newsletter in Marathi willbe brought out (news gathering, editing, proof reading anlayout were learnt in the summer program).
Sr. No. Code of Conduct Justification (if any)1.There will be dustbins in each classroom andin the school compound.There was no dustbin system and waste wasthrown around anywhere in the schoolcompound2.Waste will be strictly thrown in the dustbins. It is a regular practice to litter the classrooms,the school compound and the adjoining areaswith solid waste3.Waste from the dustbins will be segregatedevery day, separating paper and seeds.4. One sided papers will be retained for re-use5. Waste paper will be collected for makinghand-made papers periodically6. Seeds will be dispersed. Whist burning off solid waste (the only methodof disposal), seeds also get burnt which meansmany potential trees.7. Waste will not be burnt under trees but inopen spaces with supervision.The only way to dispose off solid waste of everykind in the villages is to burn it.8. Each grade will have an Environmentalmonitor.9. A copy of the code of conduct will be put up ineach classroom, notice boards and the schooloffice.School Environmental Code of Conduct
Quick Stats. on Environmental Education andOutreach (A.Y.: 2011-2012)UrbanNo. of schools: 10No. of teacherstrained: 150No. of studentseducated: 1000RuralNo. of schools: 6No. of teacherstrained: 100No. of studentseducated: 1500
Manufacture of Paper Bags with the Aid of Women’sSelf Help Groups (SHGs) of Rural India Manufacture of newspaper bags as a suitable substitute for plastic bagsto be distributed to the pilgrims visiting the Shiva temples located in theSanjay 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 Wadataluka of Maharashtra. Work to the SHGs was assigned by the Learning Space Foundation, anNGO providing supplementary education in the predominantly tribal beltof Maharashtra. 5000 bags were manufactured for the occasion.