With the ever-increasing destruction of wetlands in Navi Mumbai, we ask the residents to put on their running shoes on every World Wetlands Day to create awareness about wetlands, mangroves, and the visiting flamingos.
Mumbai has lost a lot of its mangroves due to reclamation, encroachment, and garbage dumping, among other causes. The International Union for Conservation of Nature says mangrove forests, along with other coastal wetlands like tidal marshes and sea grass meadows, are long-term carbon sinks, storing carbon in the plants themselves but more importantly in the soils below for thousands of years. It can help control global warming by reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere, according to scientists.
These ecosystems also are important in coastal protection, habitat, food security, biodiversity, and tourism. The world is losing coastal wetlands on a large scale.
Studies have shown that the city is losing its mangrove forests. A study by Godrej and Boyce estimated that private mangrove forests in their industrial estate in Vikhroli absorbed 50,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. It found that mangroves and the soil they are rooted in have absorbed thousands of tonnes of CO2 from Mumbai’s air, effectively cleaning the air of emissions released by vehicles, industries and unsafe burning of wastes.
Keeping all this in mind, ‘Run for Flamingos’ is organized by the Save Navi Mumbai Environment Group and Wandering Souls to celebrate World Wetlands Day on first Sunday of February every year to create awareness and to educate people about the importance of mangroves, wetlands, and flamingos and to give maximum publicity to Hello Forest 24×7 helpline number 1926.
The runs are planned in and around precious mangroves and wetlands of Navi Mumbai which is rich in biodiversity, having reserved mangrove forests and is the habitat of many bird species including migratory birds like flamingos. Its biodiversity/marine life has been studied by Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and TERI who have issued various reports recommending that the area’s biodiversity be preserved. However, people are not aware of the important role played by these ecosystems.
The event also spreads the strong messages to highlight essential environmental issues like the right way to dispose of e-waste, the importance of proper waste segregation and recycling, ill effects of plastic overuse and its long-term damage to the environment and importance of having clean surroundings.
In the first season of the run, we celebrated Bombay High Court order which had scrapped the Golf Course and Residential Towers project planned by the destruction of 33 hectares of Wetlands in Nerul and in second season we celebrated the announcement by Shri Aaditya Thackeray, Environment minister to declare these Wetlands as a Flamingo sanctuary.