Context: Aarey Forest Case
What has happened?
- The Supreme Court will hear a plea against the felling of 2,646 trees at the Aarey colony by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) to make way for a Metro car shed.
- The top court decided to pursue it as public interest litigation (PIL) and constituted a “Special Bench” to hear the case.
HC refuses to stay tree cutting at Aarey
- The MMRCL(Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited) began axing the trees hours after the Bombay High Court had rejected a bunch of petitions by NGOs and activists against the felling of trees in the prime green area of the city.
- The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) had approached the Authority to seek permission for felling the trees to make way for a car shed which is a part of the Mumbai Metro project.
- As soon as the move was announced, it caught the attention of aware citizens and environmentalists who decided to stand together against it.
Why saving Aarey Forest is important for Mumbai?
- The Bombay High Court on Saturday refused to stay the cutting of 2,646 trees at Aarey colony by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) to make way for a car shed for Metro 3.
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- Aarey colony, being a riparian forest(interface between land and river or stream) is home to a variety of different species, which have not yet been documented while at the same time the 16 sq km area is under-researched and can be a source of new species.
- A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggested that air pollution is capable of affecting the health of people. While air purifiers cannot reach every household, the oxygen given by trees does. Aarey forests are known as the 'lungs' of Mumbai. Hence, cutting down these trees only means depriving Mumbai of a vital organ that has been shielding it from increasing air pollution.
- It cannot be ignored that the Aarey forest is a habitat of its own. It is home to many animals and in a way is a vital part of the ecosystem. Felling down these trees will deprive many animals of their shelter and a probable increase in man-animal conflict.