Keep room for sea level rise in city planning of Mumbai
Jan 10, 2014
Source : The Times of India


MUMBAI: All new development projects must factor in the impact of climate change and sea level rise, said environmentalists on January 9.

The suggestions are likely to be incorporated by the municipal corporation in the revised Development Plan 2014-34. The BMC held a thematic workshop on environment for the DP revision process and it was attended by members of Conservation Action Trust (CAT), Vanashakti, Save Open Spaces, Citispace, Mumbai Environmental Social Network, Mumbai Waterfronts Centre, Observer Research Foundation and PK Das & Associates.

Debi Goenka, president, CAT, said that irrespective of what the BMC plans, there will be forces of nature that it will have no control over.

“Whatever activity or projects are planned in Mumbai have to factor in the issue of sea level rise,” Goenka said. “Mumbai is surrounded by water on three sides and one of the predictable impacts of climate change is going to be sea level rise. There’s no point in talking about higher floor space index since coastal areas are likely to be submerged or eroded.”

On water supply, it was stressed that the city had to import water from places 130 km away and that there was little recycling happening.

“Mumbai’s water supply depends on the southwest monsoon,” Goenka said. “If we are talking about the survival of the city, we have to think about the time if monsoon is delayed. We don’t even have a stand-by. We are importing water to Mumbai from 130 km away and using it for drinking, flushing and washing cars.”

Mapping of all natural assets like rivers, creeks, pond, lakes, seafronts, beaches, wetlands, mangroves, hills and forests, besides nullahs, should be made mandatory in the revised Deveopment Plan, said architect P K Das.

Keep forests, maidans development-free: Green brigade

Debi Goenka, president, Conservation Action Trust said the revised Development Plan should preserve whatever remained of the Aarey Milk Colony, which had been heavily exploited commercially, and no development should be permitted there. The green brigade said no development should be permitted on the race course, maidans, Shivaji Park and Sanjay Gandhi National Park.

“Aarey Milk Colony is an extension of the [Sanjay Gandhi] National Park and should be treated as forestland and given to the forest department,” Goenka said. “In the next 15 years, nothing will be left of Aarey; it will be destroyed.”

Goenka warned that the BMC was planning to revive the Goregaon-Mulund-Link Road project, an extension of the Film City Road that will go through the national park. “Forty years ago this road project was stalled by the Bombay high court and now the civic body wants to revive it despite a stay order,” he said.

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