Aarey Colony has all the necessary ingredients to contribute to a majority of the 17 SDGs, as we have demonstrated, which will also benefit other parts of the city. For instance, further construction work in Aarey can adversely impact ecosystem services such as pollination, soil building, carbon sequestration, disease, temperature, and flood control
Mumbai: A new study led by city-based ecologists, published in the latest issue of the Amrita Journal of Medicine, suggests that the preservation of Aarey Colony and its protected forests is key if Mumbai is to achieve the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) framed by the United Nations Conference of the Parties.
Anand Pendharkar, the paper’s principal author who has been documenting Aarey’s biodiversity since 1986, argues that “Mumbai has one of the strongest climate mitigation opportunities among metros in the world” and refers to Aarey particularly as “a critical location for climate mitigation.”
For example, he writes that “the forests, rivers, farms, tabelas and hills of Aarey Milk Colony are an infinite source of native food and sustenance to the tribals and citizens of Mumbai,” which contribute to food security and responsible consumption, which in turn correlate strongly with SDGs 1, 2, 3, 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17.
“Seasonal fish, crabs, prawns, free-ranging chicken or meat, milk, fruits, and vegetables collected and farmed in AMC can be purchased by Mumbaikars, without major transportation, packaging, preservation, or poisoning by chemical fertilisers or pesticides. Local foods reduce emissions, water wastage, and solid waste generation while providing positive public health benefits and provisioning sustained livelihoods and economic growth,” the paper notes.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Pendharkar said, “This is just one broad example. Aarey Colony has all the necessary ingredients to contribute to a majority of the 17 SDGs, as we have demonstrated, which will also benefit other parts of the city. For instance, further construction work in Aarey can adversely impact ecosystem services such as pollination, soil building, carbon sequestration, disease, temperature, and flood control.”
If you harm the catchment of the Mithi River in Aarey, it could lead to flooding of the airport runway in the future, especially with extreme rainfall events predicted to become more frequent. A technocratic solution for the same can cost crores of rupees, Pendharkar explained.
The report — Aarey conservation: A multifaceted opportunity for climate mitigation in an urban setting — makes a case for preparing a “detailed, long-term vision plan” that aims to protect and enhance these environmental advantages, not just of Aarey Colony but also of the adjoining Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).
“There also lies an opportunity to combine (Aarey’s reserved forest areas) with the Kanheri Caves Complex and the forests of SGNP and declare the entire region as a mixed cultural and ecological heritage site, under UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Reserve Programme,” Pendharkar and his colleagues argue.
Source : Hindustan Times