Why is there legal opposition to the coastal road?

  • Organisations like Conservation Action Trust (CAT) and Sagar Shakti (the marine and coastal community research division of Vanashakti) have filed a petition in the Bombay High Court.
  • The report addresses the threat that reclamation poses to the habitat and the survival of the intertidal wildlife that exists there, especially coral.
  • The CRZ areas were wrongly categorised and the fact that the area was CRZ IA was never recognised.
  • There are several marine species including corals that are found here that are included in Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act.
  • No clearance has been obtained for destroying these species

Why is the presence of coral important?

  • Ideally, a space hosting Schedule 1 animals is off-limits.
  • For context, what other animal enjoys that same protection level?
  • The tiger.

How many shores is this going to affect?

  • While the petition is being filed for Worli, with inputs from the fishermen of the Worli Koliwada who are protesting the potential loss of livelihood, the intertidal areas in Juhu, Bandra, Dadar, Versova, Worli, Haji Ali, Neapean Sea Road, Marine Drive are likely to be impacted in different ways, either directly or indirectly.

What is the intertidal zone?

  • The stretch of land that is visible during low tide and submerged during high tide is called the intertidal zone.
  • It can be sandy (like Juhu), rocky (like Haji Ali), muddy (like Sewri) to name a few.

Is the intertidal zone protected?

  • Yes, but with stipulations.
  • According to the CRZ notification, the intertidal zone comes under section CRZ 1B of the draft where certain “reclamation activities are allowed, including Foreshore facilities like ports, harbours, jetties, wharves, quays, slipway, bridges and sea links, etc.”
  • However, CRZ 1A protects unconditionally, certain animals in “ecologically sensitive areas and the geo-morphological features which play a role in the maintaining the integrity of the coast.”
  • And on that list is coral, found on almost all our shores.