A petition started by Mumbai Magic, a digital organisation working towards the preservation of Mumbai's biodiversity, got the response of State Minister for Environment and Tourism, Aaditya Thackeray, to whom it was addressed.
The petition, which needs 2,500 more signatories (at the time of filing this story), urges the young Indian politician, "who has shown an interest in engaging in conversations about the future of Mumbai’s nature".
It starts with, "Dear Aaditya Thackeray, We are writing to you about the biodiversity of Mumbai. Our city stands at a critical point, our incredibly rich ecosystem and low carbon footprint coming under threat from unsustainable planning and rapidly growing development. Through expert conversations and public dialogue, we have come to you with these requests."
The petition has listed five demands that the petitioner urges to be acknowledged — declare Lesser Flamingos as a protected species of Maharashtra, declare 5 biodiversity hotspots in Mumbai which must be protected, acknowledge Aarey as a forest and declare it as a no development protected area, propose a supportive policy that sustains the livelihoods of Koli communities in MMR and acknowledge the need for the protection of marine ecosystems.
The petition was shared on Twitter by user, Dushyant, who said, "385 signatures more and I will stop tweeting about this. How's that :D Have you signed?"
385 signatures more and I will stop tweeting about this. How's that :D Have you signed?https://t.co/8JotruQKOW— Dushyant (@atti_cus) September 16, 2020
Thackeray took cognisance of the matter and in a subsequent tweet he replied, "Hey, if you want I could sign this too. Smiling face
We’re working on most of these issues, since our quality of life and coexistence with nature is in direct connection with how we handle these issues. Thank you for taking this up."
Hey, if you want I could sign this too. ☺️ We’re working on most of these issues, since our quality of life and coexistence with nature is in direct connection with how we handle these issues. Thank you for taking this up— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) September 16, 2020
The event of Thackeray personally replying to the petition was also shared with much delight by the official Twitter account of Mumbai Magic.
YAAAAAAAASSSSSS! 👏👏👏👏👏 https://t.co/DhsOGBXSYV— Ministry of Mumbai's Magic (@MumbaisMagic) September 16, 2020
The writing touches upon various environmental issue presently faced by Mumbai including the Koli fishing community in Thackeray's own ward and how it has been hard-hit by the Covid pandemic, coastal development, and the industrial fishing industry.
The letter concludes by highlighting how in the last months, "through monsoon flooding, COVID-19 cases, and economic challenges, Maharashtra has remained a leader in environmental protection. Our generation represents the future leaders of Mumbai, and we ask that you protect our legacy of biodiversity."