You will soon be able to revisit the island city's ancient botanical history. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has planned a 500-acre mangrove park at Gorai-Manori.
The park will showcase fossilised fauna, with some specimen being more than 150 crore years old.
The Rs 100-crore park is being created in association with Pune's Science and Technology Park (STP) and is likely to be operational in a year.
“We wanted to display the botanical history of Mumbai including that of mangroves and palms that are abundant in this region,” Metropolitan Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad said. The park will be set up by carrying out massive mangrove plantation in patches.
A select variety of mangrove species such as Rhizophora Mucronata, Avicennia Marina, Salvadora, Suaeda, Sesuvium and Ceriops will be planted and conserved.
“This park will contain 67 varieties of palm tress and mangroves and more than 2,000 varieties of flora,” STP’s Director, General Rajan Jagdale, said.
The STP has already started a nursery for these plants and will help source rare plant fossils for the park.
Mumbai’s mangroves, located at Thane Creek, Mahim, Gorai, Ghodbunder, Versova, Bandra and Malabar Hill, are gradually depleting.
The MMRDA has conceptualised the park to provide shelter belts to protect inland homesteads, livestock and properties located near the shore.
The park will also have walkways, cycling tracks and restaurants.
“The aim of setting up this park is to make people understand the importance of flora such as mangroves and palms in the city's ecosystem and their role in buffering the city during heavy storms,” Gaikwad said.
In the early 1990s the city had at least 37 sq km of mangrove cover. Rapid population growth and reclamation of land for housing, slums and garbage dumps have reduced the vegetation to 40 per cent of its earlier strength.
Environmentalist blamed the flooding of Mumbai during the July 2005 deluge on the city’s shrinking mangrove cover.