New Delhi: Whether its cyclones, floods or sea level rises, Mangroves protect coastlines. They have in the past, prevented entires cities from being washed out.
As countires realise the importance of these coastal forests, an 11-year-old boy is busy spreading the green message in Mumbai.
July 26 2005 is a day that Mumbai will never forget. When heavy rains lashed the metropolis, the city was flooded and nothing came in the way of the rain except the Mangroves. And our Madhav knows that.
"I got very scared and I wondered what causes this and how can this be stopped. So I started looking in to it and I found out that Mangroves are the best way to stop this from happening again," says Madhav.
Like huge sponges, Mangroves soak up the city's excess water. They shield the city from the sea and with the climate change turning into a threat and with sea levels rising, Mumbai can't afford to lose its bio-fence.
"Imagine what Mangroves do for us when they are not cut. They prevent soil erosion, they are a barrier between the land and the sea, and they prevent surge storms," explains Madhav.
But here's the irony - Mangroves are under a serious threat. The rapidly spreading city has lost almost 3,000 acres of its Mangrove cover between 1997 and 2002 to builders and slum encroachments.
In the financial capital, where 'environment' is on nobody's daily agenda, Madhav can see what's coming. But Madhav is an optimist. In his spare time, he designs crockery for Good Earth and the money is used to protect the Mangrove forests. And with green hero Madhav around, the future of mangroves may not be bleak.
(With inputs from Bahar Dutt in New Delhi)