On March 30, hundreds of environmental activists, students and residents formed a kilometre-long human chain at Marine Drive in an effort to save Mumbai’s Aarey forest. The residents were protesting against cutting down of 2,000 to 3,500 trees for the construction of a car shed for Phase 3 of Mumbai Metro.
The #SaveAareyForest movement also had the support of celebrities like Anushka Manchanda and Raveena Tandon. It was supported by members of the Warli tribe, who have been living there since the construction of Aarey Milk Colony.
The forest is under threat with the green cover having been reduced from 3,000 hectares to 1,300 hectares due to development projects since 1949. Aarey forest is one of the last remaining green patches in the city.
Ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha poll, the protesters also demanded the political parties to include environmental issues in their manifesto.
A similar ecological and social movement called the Chipko Andolan, gained ground in the 1970s all over India to protect forests and trees from government-backed logging.