The impact of climate change on Mumbai now has a price tag attached to it.
A study conducted by the Worli-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) projects that in the next 40 years, flooding caused by rising sea level could damage nearly 700 buildings in south Mumbai alone, causing damages worth Rs 1.25 lakh crore.
The surging sea might eat into the buildings’ foundations causing structural damage. An equal number of buildings located along the coast in the western suburbs are also at risk of running up damages, adding up to Rs 4,518 crore by 2050.
The NEERI study on the economic impact of climate change in the city says flooding in low-lying areas between Colaba and Worli — where a number of business establishments are housed — could disrupt work worth Rs 407 crore.
“We have adopted a conservative approach. For instance, we have worked on the assumption that work disruption would be limited to five days in a year, and that the frequency of such extreme occurrences shall will be once every five years,” said Rakesh Kumar, director, NEERI.
The study also covers impacts on health. Every flood could have the potential to claim 700 lives, each death costing Rs 315 crore.
Researchers computed economic loss due to the impact of health on the basis of what they call Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY) for all major illnesses likely to impact the population. Temperature rise is expected to increase cases of malaria, diarrhoea and leptospirosis, leading to loss of income due to non-working days, and deaths.
By 2050, the loss caused by malaria, diarrhoea and leptospirosis is likely to be up to Rs 155 crore, Rs 597 crore and Rs 2,401 crore respectively. The calculation of DALY is based on World Health Organisation guidelines and income levels relevant to Mumbai.