The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) is planning to develop a nursery for mangroves using silt from the barricaded parts of its lakes. The civic body, in a bid to increase the number of mangrove nurseries, is mulling over the idea of growing mangroves across the city’s holding ponds.

A barricaded part, which is partitioned by a Gabion wall, is usually used during festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi for idol immersion. “It is a proposal which will help us build mangrove nurseries across various holding points in the city.

The soil of the holding pond is saline and will not be suitable for cultivation of any other tree species and hence, growing mangrove nursery using the silt, is the best possible option," said an NMMC official. The civic body also plans to educate citizens about such nurseries so that mangrove patches destroyed along the coast can be restored.

At present, Navi Mumbai has a total mangrove area of 4,978 hectares and there are 24 lakes in NMMC region across Airoli, Belapur, Nerul, Vashi, Digha, Ghansoli, Koparkhairne and Turbhe that were partitioned by the Gabion wall last year. A gabion wall is built in the middle of a lake, splitting the water body in two parts.

After these walls came up, only one part of these lakes are being used for immersion. The walls prevent the water, polluted with clay and straws, from spreading to the other half. The part used for immersion is cleaned every few months.