30 Apr, 2017
Maharashtra's first state-of-the-art Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Centre (CMCB) was inaugurated in Airoli on Sunday 30th April 2017 by Shri. Sudhir Mungantiwar, Hon’ble Minister, Finance & Planning, Forests, Govt. of Maharashtra.
The Centre is located at the northern part of Thane Creek, an inlet in Maharashtra’s shoreline that separates the two megacities of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. During winter, Thane Creek, which is also one of the pilot sites of the CMPA project, is home to thousands of flamingos and other migratory wading birds. In recognition of the ecological importance of this waterbody, the Maharashtra Government in 2015 has declared a wildlife sanctuary an area of 1,690 ha along the northern stretch of Thane Creek.
The Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Centre at Airoli, Maharastra
The CMPA Project, together with its partner, the Mangrove Cell of the Forest Department, has since 2014 worked on a concept to modify existing buildings on Government land bordering Thane Creek to become a modern interpretation centre with a focus on the conservation of coastal and marine biodiversity. To this end, the Project had engaged the services of Archimedes Exhibitions, a German communications agency specialising in science and research, which already had been involved in the design of parts of India’s “Science Express” in 2007. While the design and the actual manufacturing of the exhibits were done in Germany, thematic focus and content were developed by the CMPA Project in close collaboration with the Mangrove Cell and Indian subject matter experts. The aim of the concept is to use a mix of visual, audible and tactile elements to sensitise visitors to the beauty of coastal and marine biodiversity in Maharashtra. At the same time, visitors will be informed about the important ecological role biodiversity plays in the coastal area and the threats it is exposed to. Interactive computer screens and a cinema room for viewing documentary films complement the design.
A variety of exhibits await the visitor, such as viewing stations, a topographic model of Thane Creek, and media stations.
In his inauguration speech, the Hon’ble Minister, Finance & Planning, Forests, Govt. of Maharashtra, Shri. Mungantiwar, expressed his delight to have this fascinating interpretation centre in a location conveniently accessible to the people of Mumbai and its surroundings. He emphasized that the existence of mangroves and wetlands was crucial for protecting the coastal environment, and that every citizen had a role to play in the conservation of these important habitats. He also announced that the Government of Maharashtra will provide an additional 10 crores Rupees (1.4 Million EURO) for extensive landscaping around the centre, which will allow visitors to observe the operation of a mangrove nursery, inspect mangroves from a boardwalk, take a boat ride to watch flamingos or visit a whale museum.
Mr. N. Vasudevan, Head of the Mangrove Cell, demonstrates to the Hon'ble Minister the use of one of the interactive touch screens to display information about the ecology of flamingos. Also present is Dr J. M. Vakily, CMPA Team Leader.
In his welcome remarks during the opening ceremony, Dr J. Michael Vakily, Team Leader of the CMPA Project, commended the establishment of the Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Centre as a good example of a fruitful collaboration between the Indian and German Governments towards a better protection of the environment. He thanked all those who had been involved over the past two years in realising this outcome for their dedication to the cause.
Shri. Sudhir Mungantiwar examines information provided on a “flip” disk.
(All photos credit to Mangrove Cell, Mumbai)
For more information, contact Ms Supriya Jhunjhunwala at firstname.lastname@example.org
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