In order to protect the mangrove cover in Mumbai, the state government of Maharashtra is likely to sign a contract with ISRO’s Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) to put in place a satellite-based surveillance system to keep encroachments off the mangrove land. The aim of this exercise is to have a bird’s eye view on the mangrove so that people do not cause any destruction to these areas.
The project will begin soon with the agenda of setting up a Geographic Information System (GIS), which can help authorities on many levels like seeing, analysing, and understanding various required patterns and observations. Working one step ahead in that direction, the state branch of ISRO, Maharashtra Remote Sensing Application Centre (MRSAC) is mapping mangroves on the entire coast.
“MRSAC is doing the mangrove mapping of the entire coast on a cadastral, that is the land records. That is the scale on which we are working using high resolution satellite data,” told Dr. Subrata Das, Director, MRSAC in an interview to Geospatial World.
The MRSAC is generating maps using the classification system and it has already developed the maps of all wetland areas and areas that are under marine influence, i.e. shorelands, considering that areas like Colaba, Trombay, Shankarwadi in Jogeshwari east, Chikuwadi in Malad (west), Malwani, among others, are most vulnerable to encroachments.
Vasudevan, chief conservator of forest (CCF) said, “We have had presentations from IIST about their idea and plans for the project and are in talks about the terms with them. The final decision of who will be allotted the project will be taken within a month’s time.”
According to Vasudevan, after the decision of allotting the project is taken it will take six months for his team to commence this facility. “The data that will be stored by the satellite will be reviewed every fortnight,” he added.
Hence it may not be wrong to say that in coming years, the city will know whether the mangrove cover in Mumbai, suburban areas, Thane and Navi Mumbai has increased or decreased. The state mangrove cell is working along with MRSAC and it will begin an individual assessment of mangroves in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane through high-resolution satellite imagery.