Salt pans of Chembur

Salt pans of Chembur

Natural salt pans are flat expanses of ground covered with salt and other

minerals, usually gleaming brilliantly white under the sun. Such land is formed in

places where large water bodies have evaporated over thousands of years, leaving

behind remnant salt and other minerals.

Mumbai has around 5300 acres of saltpans, and they generated substantial revenue

for the city during the rule of Maratha king Shivaji, and the colonial rule of the

Portuguese and British. They may not bring much revenue to the city in these

times, but they still have a very important role to play. The sprawling salt pans act

as a natural buffer along Mumbai’s coastline during the rains, and prevent flooding

by sea water. This unique ecosystem, free from human habitation, with wide open

spaces filled with fresh, clean air, attracts thousands of migratory birds every year,

including flamingoes, herons, egrets and cormorants. Chembur’s Mahul Creek salt

pan is a large saltpan, and Chedda Nagar, an old residential colony of Chembur, is

built on salt pan land.

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