The state mangrove cell cleared nearly 30 tonnes of trash from the mangroves along with the Forest area in Versova on Thursday, as part of its six-month clean-up drive across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

On Thursday, Over 150 students from Rajiv Gandhi Institute at Versova, along with residents of Amaltas society and BMC (KWEST), joined the mangrove cell officials and collected 250 bags/buckets of trash, mostly plastic stuck to roots of mangrove trees.

“While Mumbai and surrounding areas have a thick mangrove cover, it is unfortunate most of these areas are littered with garbage but the cooperation we are getting for clean ups for our campaign is commendable,” said N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forest, state mangrove cell. “The plastic and other trash block the roots of these mangroves and sometimes this leads to uprooting of trees. While they protect us from flooding, we want to liberate these trees from litter.”

Currently, Mumbai has a total of 5,800 hectares (ha) of mangrove cover – 4,000 ha on government-owned land and 1,800 ha in private areas. While Navi Mumbai and the eastern end of Thane creek have a total cover of 1,471 ha, for the western bank of Thane creek it is 1,500 ha.

More cleanup drives will be conducted across another 15 spots in the MMR till the onset of the next monsoon at Colaba, Mahim, Trombay, Malad, Malwani, Borivli, Gorai, Ghatkopar, Wadala, Airoli, Kandivali, Chikuwadi, Vasai-Virar and southern parts of Thane creek.