August 20, 2021 1:36:14 pm
Citing a report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which warns that a large part of Mumbai can go underwater by 2100, Fridays For Future Mumbai, a youth group working for the climate change movement, has demanded the cancellation of the ongoing Coastal Road project and has called for the already constructed segments to be dismantled. In a letter addressed to the state government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the group urged them to stop construction work immediately and to restore the biodiversity and ecology that has been damaged.
“A report by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) describes Mumbai as a ‘non-adaptor’, which means that hardly anything has been done to save people and property from disasters, despite predictions that large swathes of built-up area would be flood-prone by 2100. Floods could trigger massive power outages and disrupt water and communication links for lakhs of people,” Fridays For Future Mumbai said in a statement released on Thursday.
It further said that out of the 136 biggest coastal cities in the world, Mumbai is the second most vulnerable to large-scale damage due to a rise in sea levels, as per the IPCC’s report.
The BMC is constructing the southern part of the 10.58-km coastal road from Princess Street to the end of the Bandra-Worli Sealink, at the cost of Rs 12,721 crore. The BMC has planned to reclaim 111-hectare area in the Arabian Sea which is 12 times the size of Oval Maidan at Mumbai’s Churchgate. With the deadline of the project set on July 2023, Over 40 per cent of the project has been completed so far. Locals, environmentalists and fishermen have been opposing the construction of the road.
“Ruthless work of the Coastal Road project in Mumbai has caused immense harm, in multiple ways, including by unprecedented flooding this year. We oppose the Coastal Road project construction in its entirety (both southern and northern sections) from Marine Drive to Kandivali Junction,” the group said.
A petition on Change.org has got 1,07,989 signatures against the construction of the coastal road.
“The reclamation for coastal road is destroying natural buffers against storms and floods. This reclamation is pushing the boundary of the current coastline by at least 100 metres towards the sea, which could lead to change in tidal patterns, erosion of beaches and a blockage of the city’s natural drainage systems along the whole western coast. This is putting Mumbai at a high risk of flooding,” the group warned.
The group has requested the Maharashtra government and BMC to respond to their demands by August 25, 2021.
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