Mumbai: Gorai mangrove park to be ready by 2021

Mumbai will get its first eight-hectare, solar-powered mangrove park in Gorai by July 2021, said the state mangrove cell. Union minister Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone (bhoomi poojan) for the ₹25-crore project at Atal Smriti Udyan, Borivli.

Located near Gorai jetty, the park will have a 500 square metre Nature Interpretation Centre with an information about mangroves, coastal and marine biodiversity along with a wooden mangrove trail across one kilometre, kayak trails and observatory towers for bird watching. The state mangrove cell said all environmental clearances and administrative approvals for the project were in place and construction is likely to be completed by July 2021.

“The park will help maintain the ecological balance of the mangrove ecosystem and is an ideal project highlighting environment conservation for the entire country,” said Gadkari.

N Vasudevan, additional principal chief conservator of forest, state mangrove cell, said, “Since Mumbai lacks open spaces, this will be a destination for citizens to visit and understand the biodiversity of the mangrove ecosystem.” He added that the tendering process for the park is underway.

Along with being a carbon sink, mangroves act as buffer during storms and protect the coast from inundation. Mumbai has over 60 sq km of mangrove forests with almost 40 sq km present in the suburbs.

Connected by a 10-minute boat ride from Gorai, the state mangrove cell has also planned the 50-hectare Dahisar Mangrove Park at a cost of ₹40 crore near Dahisar creek. The park will be ready by December 2021 as final administrative permissions are still pending.

The NIC for this park will span 5,100 square metre and include a mangrove museum; a virtual aquarium to provide information on coastal and marine biodiversity; a glass board walk; and a 400-metre mangrove trail overlooking mangrove forests.

“While the parks have a similar agenda to spread awareness about mangroves, the entire experience of moving from one park to the other through the creek will be unique. The basic purpose for both these parks is to create an affinity towards mangroves so that conservation efforts are strengthened,” said Vasudevan.

Being solar-powered, both parks will generate 90% of their required electricity and send the unutilised units back to the grid when the centres are nonoperational.

Experts said such parks are useful. “People will understand how and why to protect mangroves. This will boost citizen led conservation for different age groups. Only time-bound maintenance needs to be done,” said Baban Ingole, former chief scientist, National Institute of Oceanography.

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