There has been a 97% rise in concrete structures across Mumbai through land reclamation over the last 40 years.
An ongoing study by the Mumbai Transformation Support Unit has found that reclamation has increased the built-up area to 385 sq km in 2012 from 195.01 sq km in 1972, thus reducing coastal vegetation and causing frequent floods.
Between 1990 and 2012 alone, 54.72 sq km of area was reclai-med in Mumbai. The city has also lost about 40% mangroves between 1995 and 2005 and there has been a change in coastal ecology, which was responsible for the July 2005 deluge.
"Expansion of concrete [stru-ctures] has resulted in erosion of beaches, mangrove loss and wiping out of mud flats," said Smita Gandhi, author of the rep-ort and head, geography department, Mumbai university.
The first reclamation in Umarkhadi was carried out in 1700 to control malaria caused by swamps. "The joining of old isla-nds was achieved by razing hills, distortion of surface drainage, filling up of water bodies and marshes at various stages in col-onial as well as post-independence period," the report states.