NGT Takes Action on Flamingo Deaths in Navi Mumbai, Issues Notices to Authorities

Navi Mumbai, 10th June 2024: In response to the concerning reports of flamingo deaths in the vicinity of DPS Flamingo Lake at Nerul in Navi Mumbai, the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has taken proactive measures by issuing notices to CIDCO, the state forest department, and the wetland authority.

Highlighting the significance of environmental compliance, especially regarding the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017; Biological Diversity Act, 2002; and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the NGT deemed the matter substantial and deserving of attention.

Chaired by Justice Prakash Shrivastava, alongside Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi and Expert Member Dr Afroz Ahmad, the bench has transferred the case to the Western Zonal Bench and scheduled a hearing for July 17.

The NGT acknowledged preliminary observations indicating that two out of three inlets of the lake were obstructed by newly constructed high-rise roads by CIDCO, resulting in stagnant water, contrary to the natural habitat of flamingos, which typically thrive in areas with flowing water.

Furthermore, the NGT took note of CIDCO’s alleged disregard for a Bombay High Court judgment aimed at protecting the lake, instead earmarking it for future development. The defunct Nerul Jetty constructed by CIDCO was also cited as a hindrance, blocking the inlets and disrupting the natural habitat of these birds, leading to their aimless wandering on streets and endangering their lives.

The NGT order highlighted the role of ‘light pollution’ in the deaths of flamingos, attributing it to newly installed LED lights that disorient and misguide the birds during flight, resulting in collisions with random objects and injuries.

Consequently, the NGT has impleaded the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests-Nagpur, Maharashtra Wetland Authority, CIDCO, and Thane district Collector, directing them to submit their responses before the western zonal bench.

Environmentalists have commended the NGT for its swift action in addressing the concerns raised regarding the flamingo deaths. They emphasized that CIDCO’s actions, including the violation of its undertaking to preserve intertidal water flow during the construction of the passenger water terminal at Nerul, must be held accountable. Additionally, they highlighted violations of conditions stipulated in environmental clearances granted by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change and state government orders aimed at preserving water flow and fauna integrity.