Mumbai : Development overshadows Ecology
Given the astronomical land prices in many parts of Mumbai, and the extreme scarcity of land, it is no surprise that Mumbai has sacrificed its ecology for development. Real estate projects, industry, and state infrastructure have built over, and choked, the city’s water networks at various strategic points. Every monsoon, the city floods.
Local trains considered the lifeline of Mumbai, today moved at the snail's pace due to water-logging of the tracks, resulting in harrowing times for lakhs of office-goers and other commuters.
A distance, usually covered in about an hour, took several hours, even up to five hours in some cases, as the rail tracks, as well as roads were submerged. This was the scene of the metropolis as it continued to be lashed by heavy rains for the fourth straight day.
Mudflats, mangroves and wooded vegetation once slowed down the flow of stormwater. The mangrove’s complex root systems and the branching architecture of trees acted as a natural barrier to reduce the force of water flow. But now, they are built over. Garbage spread everywhere clogs the waterways. Most channels and waterways that connect water bodies have been built over too, resulting preventing streams from easily reaching the sea, adding to the severe flooding.
Today, with nothing but concrete all around, the city’s land surface does not allow water to soak into it. In especially intense periods of rain, the devastation is extreme The story of Mumbai today is a reflection of the ills that plague many Indian cities and those in other parts of the world as well, such as Miami and Houston. In a wetter future, it is clearer than ever that cities need ecology to grow.
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