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United Way Bengaluru Launches 'Mangroves Matter': A Campaign to Restore Mangrove Ecosystems

United Way Bengaluru launches 'Mangroves Matter' campaign to revitalize mangrove ecosystems amid alarming environmental degradation reports.

Shivam Dwivedi
Mangrove Ecosystem Restoration at Pulicat or Pazhaverkadu, a coastal town near Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Mangrove Ecosystem Restoration at Pulicat or Pazhaverkadu, a coastal town near Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Recent reports indicate a staggering loss of about 35% of mangroves between 1996 and 2010 highlighting a concerning trend in environmental degradation. Mangrove ecosystems play a significant role in stabilizing coastlines, making their preservation crucial for the environment and inhabitants. Mangroves are a natural solution to climate change, the paramount global threat. They can sequester carbon at a rate five times greater than tropical forests.

Responding to this urgent need, United Way Bengaluru (UWBe) has launched an ambitious and impactful campaign, ' Mangroves Matter', to revitalize mangrove ecosystems. The first foot is at Pulicat or Pazhaverkadu, a coastal town near Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Known as the 'jungle of roots' in Tamil, Pulicat encompasses a vast expanse of 720 sq. km, constituting India's second-largest brackish water body. Rampant destruction of mangrove vegetation by human activities and natural causes has led to a massive reduction in the lake's depth from 3.8m to 2m. This ecological decline has endangered biodiversity and threatened the livelihoods of local fisherfolk dependent on the mangrove ecosystem.

The 'Mangroves Matter' campaign was officially launched on World Wetlands Day, 2024, with a bold vision to rewild approximately 10 lakh mangroves across 100 acres in the Pulicat region alone. In addition to their environmental advantages, the campaign will closely work with the Irula community, opening up livelihood opportunities for them and boosting the local economy by supporting the cultivation of shrimp and fish species. The project also includes removal of acres of Prosopis (Karuvelam), an invasive species which has destroyed the local flora and soil ecosystems.

Sriram Ananthanarayanan, Director-Projects, UWBe, said, "I am glad that many of our Corporate CSR partners have come forward to support this campaign with a shared vision towards environmental commitment. Notably, our CSR partner, Mphasis, has pledged their support to this cause, dedicating the rewilding of mangroves on 70 acres in Pulicat.”

Looking ahead, United Way Bengaluru envisions extending the campaign's reach to other regions, including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala. Upholding its mission of "mobilizing the caring power of communities," the organization calls upon organizations from different industries to join hands in supporting this vital mission for the preservation of the planet's precious ecosystems.

Rajesh Krishnan, CEO, UWBe, said, "COP28 made significant progress towards securing the Mangrove Breakthrough's goal of 15 million hectares of mangroves underpinned by USD 4 billion new investments by 2030. I am super excited that United Way Bengaluru is among the very few organisations who have taken this initiative. 'Mangroves Matter' is aligned with the aspiration of COP28, which calls out the responsibility of the State, corporations, local people, community, NGOs and other stakeholders to deliver the Breakthrough."

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