Mumbai’s Mangroves Showing New Signs of Life Following Devastating Moth Attacks

Mumbai’s Mangroves Showing New Signs of Life Following Devastating Moth Attacks

Large portions of mangroves across Mumbai and Navi Mumbai were recently found decimated after a series of moth attacks. However, the region has now started to show signs of rejuvenation. While the area was fairly barren after the moth attacks, experts said that current indications point at full recovery of the mangroves by January 2021.

ReadMangroves In Mumbai And Navi Mumbai Facing Repeated Moth Attacks

“As a fisherman I had never seen these many dried-up mangroves. We all were concerned. But of late we have been seeing green patches. It is a big relief. Now we must look at this issue more seriously and see what can be done to prevent such pests attacks,” fisherman and activist, Nandkumar Pawar said to Mumbai Mirror

Pawar also runs the Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishthan and has been vocal about issues related to mangroves since the past 15 years. 

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The last few weeks saw the destruction of nearly 90% of the mangroves in Mumbai following the repeated attacks by the hyblaea puera moth (teak defoliator). Officials at the time said that they had never seen moth attacks on mangroves in this capacity. However, the fact that the mangroves are now beginning to grow gradually is certainly a hopeful sign. 

Dr Sheetal Pachpande, Assistant Director, Projects at the Mangrove Cell said that this occurs yearly. “At the end of monsoon we see such a pattern due to certain pests. But within two months you will see the greenness of the mangroves return.”  

Previously, the Institute of Wood Science and Technology had recommended the use of botanical biopesticides to stop the moth attacks. The institute said that the biopesticides would be produced using minerals and other plant extracts. However, Mangrove Cell officials have said that spraying pesticides over such a large area across Mumbai and Navi Mumbai would be unfeasible.

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