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Flamingo festival attracts bird lovers

Hundreds of bird lovers flocked to Mumbai’s Sewri-Mahul wetlands to watch thousands of flamingos in their natural habitat. The visitors expressed their concern over the construction of 22-km-long Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL), touted as the country’s longest proposed sea link, in the area.

The project will affect 38 hectares of protected mangrove forests which hosts thousands of these flamingos. It is likely that water birds, including flamingos, may get disturbed by this project and fly away when the work begins due to noise pollution and movement of construction equipment.

Neelam Gadre, a final year MBBS student at the Grant Medical College said she was happy she could make the trip. It was her first trip to the Sewri jetty too. “It was on my friend’s to do list and since I had a holiday I decided to join her. The best thing about these birds is that they like to do things together,” she said, adding that perhaps this would be the first and last time that she would be able to see them.

Jatin Lodaya, 46, a resident of Chembur, said, “I have been coming to this festival for the past seven years. I take as many pictures as I can because I may not see these birds next year.”

According to the BNHS, the noise pollution caused by construction of the MTHL, which will connect Sewri with Uran in Navi Mumbai, could disturb the flamingos and other migratory birds that come to the Sewri wetlands and other areas further up the Thane Creek during this time of the year. “These birds have migrated to Mumbai from the Great Rann of Kutch in Gujarat owing to the extreme cold winter there,” said Arun Varghese, a volunteer from BNHS.

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