As students, we learn about the environment as part of the school curriculum. One topic that is very relatable and very important to Goa is that about the mangroves which one sees all over the state. They can mostly be found along the banks of the Mandovi, Zuari and even their tributaries. Mangroves are crucial to Goa’s environment but unfortunately, in recent years, the state has lost a lot of its mangrove cover thanks to road widening and construction. Under the Smart City Mission, the Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Ltd (IPSCDL) conceptualized and built the Mangrove Boardwalk, approximately 2 months ago, to highlight the importance of mangroves in Goa.
The importance of mangroves
This may seem like a science lesson out of a textbook but it’s important to understand just how much Goa needs mangroves. Especially if we are to stay safe and prevent the kind of flooding that has been happening across different parts of the country.
Mangroves protect sea border areas during storms and minimize damage. They protect shorelines from damaging storm and hurricane winds, waves, and floods. The mangroves are also home to several species of plants. They are even home to different kinds of marine life and even some animals. Mangroves also help prevent erosion by stabilizing sediments with their tangled root systems.
It has been proved that mangroves absorb eight times more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than any other plant. Just one hectare of mangroves is capable of neutralizing 17 metric tonnes of carbon per year.
The beautiful Mangrove Boardwalk
The beautiful Mangrove Boardwalk in Panjim is the first of its kind in Goa and the second in the country. The Andaman Islands are said to have been the first to create such a wonder.
Goa’s Mangrove Boardwalk is spread over 1100 sq meters and is located just behind the new Central Library at Patto. It stands over the Ourem Creek and is said to house 14 different mangrove species. The idea behind creating it was to ensure that people become aware of just how important the mangroves are to the environment. Mangroves also form their own ecosystems which can go on for miles. This boardwalk is actually in its first phase but there are plans to extend it even further where it will possibly touch the old Patto bridge.
“We will extend the walkway up to the Rua de Ourem bridge and if possible, beyond that, as the creek is lined with lush green mangrove trees, with a marshy land located adjacent to this water body. The total area of the walkway would be 1.5 kilometers,” said Sidharth Kunkalienkar, Director of the IPSCDL.
Entry to this beautiful wooden boardwalk is free. The directions to the Mangrove Boardwalk are simple. You can head to the library, past the watchman’s cabin into the compound and go around to the back. It’s fantastic that Goa has something like this for the first time and the first of its kind on mainland India. It will serve a fantastic purpose to teach everyone, young or old, about how such an ecosystem works in the environment.