Producer: Varsha Rani
Video Editor: Mohd. Irshad Alam
Aarey Forest is home to many species of birds and animals but now, this eco-sensitive zone is under threat after the formation of the Eknath Shinde-led government in Maharashtra. The government recently reversed the 2020 decision to relocate the Aarey metro car shed project.
My first exposure to wildlife and nature was in the forests of Aarey. Since 1986, I’ve been exploring the forests and hills of Aarey. We’ve documented over 1,100 species in this area. Every time, during every walk, every trip, even while passing through, new things are constantly being seen here in Aarey. It’s not been explored enough.
The location where the metro yard is being planned is known to be a breeding ground for pythons. A large number of species of birds have been spotted here. It is a fantastic haven for butterflies as well. There is, in fact, even a butterfly park there, and a large number of migratory birds come there. The lakes and ponds here are known for hosting species that are breeding, like the Ibis, which is also a scheduled species.
"Why is Delhi still polluted, if the metro is the solution to all its problems? If a metro line can help us with the traffic issue, why is Bengaluru still struggling? Why can’t we strengthen our suburban rails instead? Those tracks need maintenance, they do not need to be rebuilt. And even if they need to be rebuilt, let's do that because the space is there already, there are no trees there. There is no biodiversity there. How can we compromise a jungle for a car shed?"Archana Patel, Activist
You cannot ruin the environment in the name of development. We are not saying that the development should not be there but at the same time, this environment is equally important and we cannot harm it.
Sanjeev Shamanthul, secretary of the Democratic Youth Federation of India said, "Metro, bridges, and buildings can be rebuilt again, but the environment cannot. The government has other places available. We, as citizens, want a better and clean environment here with fresh air."
Experts also believe cutting down of trees would trigger the flood in the Mumbai region.
"Mumbai usually faces a lot of rainfall and the Aarey forest is an incredible carbon sync. An ecosystem of such kind can soak up a large amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and harming it will make each monsoon worse. That is exactly what climate change is. Even flooding is set to get worse. The Aarey project doesn't just mean cutting trees, it also means displacing the tribal people. These projects also endanger animals and the flora and fauna."Anna Abraham, Volunteer
Aarey is full of trees, there are orchids, you can see foxtail orchids which are essential for honeybees and pollinators such as moths etc. It has got some grasslands, forests, and hills.
There are streams that originate from here. Whether it’s the metro yard, Bhawan, or any other projects, they are going to completely destroy the ecosystem and cause a huge amount of flooding downstream in the Mumbai region.
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