Creating walkways over mangroves, and starting boat rides into dense mangrove forests is the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s latest solution to help conserve the rapidly disappearing shrubs.
In its attempt to turn the coastal belt of Gorai, Manori and Uttan into a Tourism and Recreation Zone has now proposed to create a 2.6-km elevated walkway over the mangroves in Gorai. This region has a dense, healthy mangrove cover. The walkway will be one-metre wide and 1.5 to 2-metres above the shrub cover. “This area can be showcased to tourists to create awareness and provide an opportunity to explore their habitat,” the MMRDA said, in its draft project report prepared for this belt.
The walkway will lead to a recreational deck, with benches for people to sit on and enjoy the view.
Boat rides will also be started, which will ferry people to and from the mangroves. “There are various inlets which can be used to navigate into the dense mangroves. Two creek inlets for starting the service have been identified,” the report said. The agency has called for suggestions and feedback about the plan.
However, the proposal has not gone down too well with activists. “Residents are against these kinds of projects. It disturbs people’s way of life. Instead of preserving surroundings, the MMRDA is doing the opposite, “ said Gordon D’Souza, president, Bombay Catholic Sabha. D’Souza has been fighting against the commercialisation of the coastal belt.
The declining mangrove cover in the city has been a huge cause of concern. The shrubs can be found in the Thane Creek, Mahim, Gorai, Ghodbunder, Versova, Bandra and Malabar Hill.