Aarey Milk colony, the green lungs of Mumbai, home to some of the oldest trees in the city is a lush green patch covering 3000 acres in the suburbs of Goregaon. Barely 15 minutes from the Mumbai International Airport, Aarey Colony lies in the heart of this alpha world city, handling a vehicular traffic of 25000+ vehicles on an average, using it everyday.
And yet, with a wealth of more than 20000 trees, it supports a rich diversity of flora and fauna- 76 species of birds, 86 species of butterflies, 13 species of amphibians, 38 different types of reptiles, 19 spider species and 34 different types of wild flowers. A wide variety of mammals including leopards, spotted deer, rusty spotted cat, jungle cat, civets, monkeys, the sambar deer and barking deer are still residents of this colony that acts as buffer zone to the adjoining Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
Aarey provides invaluable services to the commercial capital of India at zero economic cost:
- It absorbs and filters the very high levels of pollution in the area due to the exhaust from millions of vehicles that run on the arterial roads in the vicinity.
- It cools the atmosphere and provides fresh air.
- In a city turning into a thick concrete jungle, Aarey plays an important role in terms of “citizen to open spaces ratio” and as an alternative green cover amidst the city limits.
- It provides a valuable area for exercise and recreation.
The above services are as essential for existence as are jobs, housing and infrastructure.
All of this is now under threat due to various reasons. The rapid urbanization of North Mumbai threatens to engulf and destroy Aarey Milk Colony. We are already faced with very high pollution levels and urban heat island effect. If Aarey were to disappear there will be a further increase in the pollution levels in the area having a direct impact on our health. Wiping out our watershed areas will cause acute water shortages, creating catastrophic imbalances in the environment. In the name of ‘development’ several urban projects are being planned and implemented in Aarey including the Metro yard, development of a zoo, widening of the link road, illegal encroachments, unchecked garbage and waste disposal, to name a few.
If we do not rise and stop this concrete wave immediately,
It could bring the Death of Aarey! Death of our own future! Death by ‘development’!
We do not have a choice.
We must save our trees.
We must save our last rivers and lakes.
We must save our city from floods and catastrophic ecological imbalances.
We must save our last hope for fresh, pure air and a healthy future.
WE MUST SAVE AAREY!