The mangrove patch in Dharavi is not just a critical habitat for several species but is also a crucial protective barrier from flash floods during heavy rainfall, as the trees and the swamp act like a sponge and soak the overflow of water. However, these forests slowly began to disappear because of rampant encroachment, prompting the state to set up the Mangrove Cell in 2012.
But land grabbers don’t seem to fear the authorities at all. In fact, over the past 5-6 years, they have gobbled up at least half an acre of mangrove trees in Dharavi alone, even though the Mangrove Cell’s office is barely 3 km away.
The Dharavi mangrove forest is not easily accessible by road, and the extent of encroachment can only be seen clearly from high-rises, of which there aren’t many in the area. However, the damage is visible from buildings in Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC).