‘Mumbai and its suburbs are vulnerable to climate change’

Feb 29, 2020 12:07 AM IST

Mumbai: Mumbai and its suburbs have been added to the list of districts in Maharashtra that are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change impacts. The announcement was made by climate change advisor to the Maharashtra government Naman Gupta, during the second day of the Climate Crisis Conclave hosted by not-for-profit group Mumbai First and the Maharashtra government on Friday.

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Nandurbar, Dhule, and Buldhana were identified as the three districts most vulnerable to climate threats under the Maharashtra state action plan on climate change 2014. The vulnerability index is developed based on three parameters – sensitivity to climate changes; exposure to extreme weather conditions; and adaptive capacity to the changes. Mumbai has been added to the list after other factors including impacts of sea level rise, heat island effect, precipitation, temperature, and other parameters for coastal cities were studied.

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“Mumbai was also identified as a vulnerable district as part of the study while developing the State Action Plan on Climate Change though it was not included in the list of 33 districts ranked as per the macro-vulnerability index prepared as part of the same study,” said Gupta. “Wetland conservation, micro-water shed protection, mangrove and urban forestry protection, rooftop solar applications, waste management efficiency, are some of the key issues that need to be looked at urgently.”

Gupta also presented projections over the next 10 years on how Maharashtra could witness 22% to 32% rise in extreme weather events; increase in annual mean temperatures ranging from 1.19 to 1.33 degrees Celsius; and increase in heat index up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-9.4°C). Sea level rise is expected to be 24cm to 66cm projected along the Maharashtra coastline by 2030. Heat Index factors in humidity and actual temperature to measure how hot temperatures actually feel.

“All these concerns as of now have been incorporated in the state level disaster management plan. However, it is of utmost importance to include issues and variability factors (in the climate change context) to be included in the Mumbai city and suburbs disaster management plan. The city also needs a heat action plan and focused research on heat island effect,” said Gupta. “Since the climate action plan was developed in 2017, there have been a lot of developments under climate change sciences and factors impacting vulnerability of different locations. Also, following the Paris Agreement, India has its own nationally-determined contributions (NDC) and sustainability development goals (SDG). Considering these, the Maharashtra government is updating the state action plan based on the NDCs and SDGS, and the process is underway,” she said.

HT reported on Friday that almost three million people living within one kilometre of the city’s coastline are under threat from coastal flooding, storm surges and sea level rise, according to an analysis report by McKinsey & Company Inc. “We should not be waiting for 2030 or 2050. Indications of extreme weather events and high temperatures are already visible. Action oriented plans for each climate change parameter needs to be implemented through participation from all stakeholders, especially citizens,” said Gupta


    Badri Chatterjee is an environment correspondent at Hindustan Times, Mumbai. He writes about environment issues - air, water and noise pollution, climate change - weather, wildlife - forests, marine and mangrove conservation

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