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Mumbai Coastal Road project ‘maladaptive’: latest IPCC report

Released this Monday, the sixth assessment report talks about climate change impacts, risks and vulnerabilities, and adaptation options.

As also mentioned in the report, fishermen from Worli Koliwada, Haji Ali, where the sea has been reclaimed, has complained about the loss of fishing grounds and damage to inter-tidal flora and fauna. (File)

MUMBAI’S MULTI-CRORE Coastal Road, a pet project of Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray that promises to provide uninterrupted connectivity from South Mumbai to the congested western suburbs, has been called ‘maladaptive’ by the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Released this Monday, the sixth assessment report talks about climate change impacts, risks and vulnerabilities, and adaptation options. It states that infrastructural interventions can sometimes be maladaptive (not adjusting adequately or appropriately to the environment or situation.) when assessed over longer periods; e.g., the Mumbai Coastal Road (MCR) project aimed at reducing flood risk and protecting against sea level rise will cause damage to inter-tidal fauna and flora and local fishing livelihoods.

The road, a 10.58 km stretch from the Marine Drive promenade to the Worli end of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, is part of the larger Mumbai Coastal Road Project that is proposed to link Marine Drive to Kandivali – an ambitious plan to link South Mumbai with North with a toll-free freeway that is expected to ease up traffic.

Since its planning, the coastal road has drawn criticism and concerns from transportation experts, environmentalists, and fishermen. As also mentioned in the report, fishermen from Worli Koliwada, Haji Ali, where the sea has been reclaimed, has complained about the loss of fishing grounds and damage to inter-tidal flora and fauna.

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Dr Anjal Prakash, research director and adjunct associate professor at the Bharti Institute of Public Policy, Indian School of Business, and the current author of IPCC 6th Assessment Report Working Group II, said, “For megacities in India like Mumbai, there has to be a combination of strengthening green and blue infrastructure. While green infrastructure includes more focus on urban greening and biodiversity protection such as improving Mumbai’s mangrove as well as terrestrial green cover both being the first line of defence for different climate anomalies, blue infrastructure refers to protecting and enriching water bodies, cascading lake systems, streams and rivers across the city. Both of these have to be protected with strong planning and intent.”

First published on: 02-03-2022 at 00:48 IST
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