Mangroves are the unknown saviours of Mumbai, their presence ultimately forming as a natural shield against natural disasters such as floods, cyclones, and tsunamis. The United Way, Mumbai, and the Mangrove Cell (Govt. of Maharashtra) have fought tirelessly since 2015 to preserve the Greater Mumbai’s coastal mangrove population in order to prevent rapidly increasing soil erosion in the wetlands. Their efforts have yielded the planting of roughly 11,000 mangroves in scattered patches of wetlands succumbing to high levels of deforestation and pollution, most notably near Bhandup Pumping Station and Airoli.
However, the main issue they are facing is a fight for awareness. Very few know the extent of the risks that plague the mangroves of Greater Mumbai, and subsequently, many are clueless of the impact their growing scarcity will cause to the city. That’s why The United Way, Mumbai and the Mangrove Cell (Govt. of Maharashtra), have come up with a detailed field guide of Greater Mumbai’s mangrove ecosystems. The guide offers a holistic depiction of where Mumbai’s mangrove swathes lie. Moreover, it highlights the species whose natural habitat is adversely affected by mangrove deforestation, for example, the dogfaced water snake and the black-winged stilt.
The waterproof field guide is produced in Hindi and English with 5,000 copies printed so far. The text explains to readers what specific risks mangroves face and describes how individuals can aid Mumbai’s mangrove population. The best part of this much needed guide is that forty four photographers have contributed 80 pictures taken in the field for this six fold guide.