Threat to Biodiversity: Powai Lake Faces Decline Amidst Urbanization

Powai Lake, a historic reservoir constructed in 1890, renowned for its expansive 370-acre spread and serving as a crucial catchment area encompassing 17 thousand acres during the monsoons, now confronts a grave peril amidst escalating urbanization.

The encroachment of rampant urban development, characterized by the proliferation of towering structures and thoroughfares, has precipitated the shrinkage of Powai Lake, formerly a thriving bastion of biodiversity. Despite enduring challenges, vestiges of the original biodiversity persist in the region, albeit under considerable strain.

The specter of pollution looms large over Powai Lake, primarily stemming from unchecked sewage discharge emanating from the Vijaya side. The continued neglect in addressing these environmental hazards compounds the degradation of this once-pristine ecosystem.

Against the backdrop of diminishing biodiversity, the precincts of Powai Lake harbor several distinctive animal species, including bonnet and langur monkeys. While the lake once hosted a diverse avian population of one and a half hundred bird species, a discernible decline is evident, with only three species of water ducks presently sighted, compared to five two decades ago.

The fauna spectrum of Powai Lake extends to reptiles, encompassing an estimated fifty crocodiles, assorted lizards, and sixteen species of snakes, comprising both non-poisonous and poisonous varieties. Additionally, the amphibian populace, featuring six species of frogs and two variants of Sicilian, contributes to the ecological tapestry.

Significantly, Powai Lake has inadvertently become a repository for discarded fish, with 88 species identified, of which merely 18 are indigenous. The release of surplus fish, often outgrowing domestic confines, perpetuates this influx. The Maharashtra State Angling Association, with a commendable five-decade legacy, diligently champions the cause of conserving native fish, underscoring the pivotal role of lake cleanliness in preserving indigenous fish species.

Urgent and concerted action is imperative to mitigate the burgeoning threats encroaching upon Powai Lake's biodiversity. The conservation imperative demands collaborative engagement between environmental authorities, local stakeholders, and conservation entities. Only through collective endeavor can Powai Lake be safeguarded as a bastion of ecological resilience amidst the urban milieu, ensuring its legacy endures for posterity.

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