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Located in Navi Mumbai, with an area of 30 acres, Seawoods Lake is home to many wildlife species including herons, ducks, kingfishers, and tailor birds among others. Partly encircled by Mangroves, migratory birds such as pelicans and flamingos call this their seasonal home. Yet, City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) authorities call this a depression, and not a lake.

Seawoods Lake, Navi Mumbai - Image Source: http://www.rajeesood.blogspot.com

CIDCO’s mission is to create “environmentally friendly urban settlements”. The notion of what is environmentally friendly and what is a lake seems to be at the sole discretion of CIDCO and those who make decisions. Unfortunately nature does not heed such re-definitions of what is and is not a water body forming a lake. Destroying the Seawoods Lake would cause the very
detrimental effects that CIDCO states in its mission and documents on its website.

CIDCO has done some remarkable work in wetland projects namely the “Khandeshwar lake Project” which involved saving wetland areas to protect flora and fauna. You can read about it on their site.

“A survey by TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) of few freshwater wetlands in Navi Mumbai area indicated that these are being destroyed at an alarming rate due to several anthropogenic activities like dumping of solid wastes including debris, release of sewage and destruction of catchment areas, to name a few.”

Today CIDCO is doing exactly what TERI warns against: of dumping debris into the Seawoods Lake. CIDCO officials have presented a paper on managing water bodies at the Lake conference which can be read here. An excerpt from the paper.

” Due to lack of awareness, wetlands have been indiscriminately and deliberately destroyed with a short sighted outlook for instant gains…In summary, wetlands are globally becoming a threatened landscape. “

It is widely believed by experts that the Mumbai floods of 2005  would not have been that harsh had the coastal wetlands been preserved. So what would happen if the Seawoods lake is dumped with debris and developed into whatever CIDCO intends to? We can turn to the authors of the paper again who say:

“Degrading wetlands can lead to serious consequences, such as increased flooding, extinction of species, and poor water quality.”

To their credit, City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) authorities in Navi Mumbai, have been making an effort to save the local lakes. Unfortunately, this lake has been ignored and turned into a dumping ground. The current rate of environmental degradation around us calls for saving every fragile ecosystem we have, including this lake. Tragedy does not have to be gruesome to be destructive, environmental destruction needs your urgent action now. Raising awareness  and preserving our ecosystems is the need of the hour.

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