The Maharashtra government’s Mangrove Cell proposes to set up Mumbai’s first mangrove parks in Gorai and Dahisar. The parks, which are proposed to be set up by the end of this year, will not only boost eco-tourism in the area, but will also increase awareness about mangroves, officials from the Mangrove Cell said. “We are working on a plan to have eco-tourism activities, including boating and mangrove trails, at the parks. Tourists will be able to see mangroves and birds closely. It will also have an interpretation centre,” said N Vasudevan, additional principal chief conservator of forest, state Mangrove Cell.
The Dahisar park, which is estimated to cost about Rs 6-7 crore, will have a mangrove trail, a watchtower to observe birds, a ‘Nature Interpretation Centre’ for people to learn more about mangroves and boating trips into mangrove patches. “It will be almost 80 hectares in area. If one is to walk around it, it will be a six- km walk. Presently, there is an old bund there, which we will use as a path for mangrove trails. We will construct boardwalks at places where the bund is broken. A jetty is also being constructed for boating,” said Prashant Deshmukh, range forest officer, state Mangrove Cell. Around the Dahisar creek, there are varieties of birds, such as egrets and grey herons.
A similar park is being planned in the mangrove patches next to the Gorai jetty. Much smaller than the Dahisar park, the eight-hectare Gorai park is also expected to be completed around the same time. However, the Gorai park will have two watchtowers of around 20-25 metres in height to observe birds. “There are many mudflats in the area, which will attract more birds. So, we will be having two watchtowers there,” Deshmukh said.
The Mangrove Cell is actively taking up the cleaning of mangrove patches in different parts of Mumbai. They have already completed 80 per cent of the cleaning activity at Dahisar. “We have already removed around 80-90 tonnes of waste from the mangroves. We only need to clean the creek waters and work on an open defecation problem nearby. We will continue the activity till May,” he added.