Mumbai Rains: A Mere 20cm Rise In Sea Level Might Double The Flood Frequency in Mumbai

According to UN prediction, the sea could rise by one metre (three feet) in the century up to 2100 because of global warming. If the prediction is believed to be true, a quarter of Mumbai could be affected

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Mumbai has over the years witnessed huge swathes of its beaches being lost to the rising sea levels. Now, the city dwellers have expressed their fear that they may lose their homes in the times of come. Critics have pointed out that the country's largest metropolis - like other world mega-cities - is not doing enough to hold back the waves.

Every year, as monsoon arrives in the city, Mumbai is posed with flooded streets, waterlogged railway tracks and the near-daily storms regularly flooding Dharavi, which happens to be one of Asia's biggest slums.

A shanty dweller, Venkatesh Nadar, 38, who has lived his entire life in the settlement told AFP that the situation seems to be deteriorating every year, with the homes knee-deep in water. Mr Nadar raised doubts stating that the authorities had done nothing to help his family move and they haven't even told him what might happen to his home in case, the sea levels rise.

Mumbai is already vulnerable to floods and according to UN prediction, the sea could rise by one metre (three feet) in the century up to 2100 because of global warming. If this prediction comes true, a quarter of Mumbai could be affected.

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A 2017 report by US experts suggests that even a 20-centimetre rise would more than double the frequency of flooding in tropical zones such as the Mumbai coast. Whereas the studies conducted by an activist group, Watchdog Foundation indicates that the shore has retreated by more than 20 metres at some Mumbai beaches over the past 15 years.

Every year, the rainwater results in an adverse effect on the outdated drainage system. The state government's response has been on concentrating on building 20 sea walls - including four off Mumbai - and a huge mangrove planting campaign along the state's 720-kilometre coast.

Meanwhile, Forestry officer DR Patil said,

Mangroves are the first line of defence against flooding and we don't have any other options. Even a boundary wall cannot protect the city as much as mangroves."

Mr Patil and his 300-strong team wade through knee-deep waters to plant the trees near the shorelines and make sure they are protected. Mr Patil added that there are now more than 75,000 acres of mangroves after boosting cover in the state by 82 per cent between 2015 and 2017.

Environmentalists claim that the action is a half-hearted response. Activist Nandkumar Pawar said that despite mangroves being extremely significant, the rivers and creeks are equally important for the city. He further explained that some laws which were meant to protect the coast have been relaxed to help new buildings creep closer to the shore. This has led to the structures covering rivers and creeks which were an escape route for floodwaters.

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