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To save Mumbai’s toxic Thane Creek, experts should listen to the experiences of traditional fishers

BUY-SELL | HELP WANTED | MATRIMONIAL

Most Mumbai residents encounter the sea only on the west coast, bordering the Arabian Sea. The Thane Creek that separates Mumbai from the mainland on its east coast, is unseen as a waterfront. Rather, it is seen as a toxic wetland – water has been made into land through reclamations by the Mumbai Port, the coastline transformed by industrial processes and largely barricaded from public access.

Through our new film, Sagar Putra, we aim to present a different view of the Thane Creek, one experienced through the everyday practices of one of Mumbai’s fishing villages or koliwadas that are inhabited by the indigenous community of Kolis.

The language of fisher experiences, as the fishers themselves narrate in the film, reveals contemporary struggles against the enclosure of the coast as well as the recovery of a longer, forgotten history of entanglement of sea and city from Mumbai’s eastern seaboard.

More than 25 fishing villages dot the Thane Creek of Mumbai, Trombay Koliwada being one. They form part of a complex living web where marine life, mangroves and villages are linked to each other through livelihood, social, and sacred relations.

Vinod Koli is a Koli fisherman from Trombay Koliwada. He talks about an ecological sensing or knowledge of how fishers measure time…

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