Around 22 hectares of mangrove cover was destroyed due to developmental and expansion activities at Dharamtar creek and around Jindal Steel Works Limited’s (JSW Ltd) Dolvi unit in Pen taluka of Raigad district, Maharashtra between September 2010 and May 2021, says the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
The site was surveyed from 1997 to 2021 using satellite images sent by the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) in Chennai. NGT has now ordered compiling three sets of time series of the satellite maps (from 1997 to August 2010, September 2010 to 2014, and 2015 to May 2021) to assess the amount of mangrove destruction at the two sites of Dharmatar Creek and in the vicinity of JSW Limited.
A bench of four judges headed by NGT Chairman Judge Adarsh Kumar Goel heard a petition filed by activist Samita Patil for violation of environmental standards in the villages of Dolvi, Karvi, Gadab, Khar Karawi, Kharmachela, Jui Bapuji and surrounding areas.
The NGT found a serious violation of the environmental standards mentioned in its May 27, 2021 order. A five-member joint committee under Jigmet Takpa, joint secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has been set up to make recommendations, corrective measures for the future and compensation under the “polluter pays” policy.
The 41-page NGT order dated March 4, 2022 says satellite imagery sent between 1997 and 2021 shows that the estimated total loss of mangrove area at one site is 12.4 hectares. In the other area, the loss is about 9.25 hectares. The order names 13 problem areas and the boards in which they are based.
The NGT also wanted to know whether the creek and canal are in compliance with environmental clearance requirements and CRZ 2011 requirements. The report may indicate the environmental impact of surrounding industrial activities, including references to housing, agriculture, coastal and inland hydrology. The NGT will hear the case on August 24.