Why Mumbai almost drowns when the monsoon arrives?
Mumbai, the city of dreams, has become a battleground for its citizens ever since the monsoons struck the city in full swing in early June this year. Rains each year threaten to throw life out of gear in Mumbai – a city known for its resilient spirit. Though the monsoons always bring along a sigh of relief with it after a long wait and a sultry summer but also causes major hardships to the Mumbaikars. This year, the rainy season has finally hit the skies of Mumbai with a bang indeed as the deluge grounded the mega city to a standstill in no time. Water flooded streets, disrupted traffic and flight services, and shutting down of schools and offices beomes a common scenario during the monsoon season in Mumbai. But as soon as the water recedes, the wrath is forgotten, Mumbai’s resilient spirit is lauded, and life moves on. Until the next year, or the next deluge.
What it leads to?
Every year, ceaseless monsoon rains knock out Mumbai, India’s financial capital, making its netizens’ life miserable. The rains drenches the coastal city of nearly 20 million people bringing the city to a halt with low-lying areas getting waterlogged and disrupting of dozens of flights and local train services. The flooding of water on the streets leads to closure of the schools, subways, and some offices. During the evening hours, people plodding through knee-deep water on their way back home or stuck in stranded vehicles for hours becomes a common sight during the monsoon rains. Citizens are asked to stay indoors, in case there is a possibiliy of heavy rains on some days.
Some Majorly Affected Areas
The areas in and around Sion, Kings Circle, Kurla, Bandra, Mahim, Dadar, and Matunga are considered the backbone of Mumbai as they connect this island city to its suburbs. As these areas are low-lying, they get severely flooded during the monsoons with public and private transport coming to a standstill.
Bandra and Kalina are also exposed to floods owing to the narrow mouth of the Mithi river. Juhu, Santacruz, and Kalina receive a lot of rain leading these areas to face extreme flooding conditions.Some other affected areas are – Chembur, Antop hill, Worli, Hindmata, Mulund, Ghatkopar, Mankhurd and Wadala, and Andheri.
How did 2005 Mumbai floods happen?
Mumbai city confronted the calamity of the catastrophic floods caused due to endless rains in 2005. The floods took 546 lives and induced massive damage to the property. The lack of enhanced rain water drainage system and a record of 37.2 inches of rain within 24 hours led to the tragedy.
The reason behind the arising of this situation of floods is rapid urbanisation and unplanned development, which is similar to the genesis of other cases of urban floods.
Reasons why Mumbai floods during monsoons
There are myriad of reasons behind the sinkage of Mumbai during the monsoons. Some of them are listed below:-
- Carelessness on the part of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)
- Natural features like mangroves and wetland which have been destroyed act as sponges
- Non-implementation of government mandated safety measures like usage of permeable materials and leaving space for water to drain, by builders.
- Irregular and inadequate garbage collection system
- Piling up of debris from the metro construction activity
- Impropers water drainage system
- Choking of drains and water bodies with garbage and industrial wastes
- Absense of advanced weather forecasting system
- Lack of basic good civic infrastructure
- Delayed desilting of water drains all over the city
- Unrestricted construction activity in the low-lying areas of Mumbai leaves no space for the water to recede
- Absence of proper roadmap of Mumbai required to combat the city’s tendency to floods
- Brihanmumbai Storm Water Disposal System (BRIMSTOWAD) was considered a milestone drainage blueprint for Mumbai. This system included installation of new pumping stations and repairing old pipelines, which would allowed the city to withstand up to two inches of rainfall in an hour. But less than 50% of the work is accomplished, the rest has been put on hold leaving no record behind where the remaining money has gone.
- The choking of the Mithi river with garbage and pollutants has led this river to throw back the water into the city. The river was an important source of water and played a crucial role in the drainage system of Mumbai. The BMC is slow moving in the task of disilting this river, leaving the situaton even more worse.
- The lack of civic infrastructure in the city like the laying of roads dug up for civic work has led to bumpy roads and creation of potholes during monsoons.
Monsoons or the Authorities -Who is to be blamed?
The persistant monsoons rains in Mumbai causes extreme misery for the residents bringing India’s financial capital to its knees. Flooding becomes a common phenomenon in the city of over 20 million people bringing city’s life to a halt. Who should be blamed for this situation-The monsoons or the authorities formed for the welfare of the public. We cannot blame the nature for this situation as it is playing its own role very efficiently. It is the authorities and the city’s government who are required to take prompt measures in this regard to secure the lives of their residents.
But looking at the current situation of Mumbai, it seems as if the city is lacking any proper civic body created to address the concerns of the public during the rainy season. Locals have, every now and then, raised their voice against the civic authorities and the local government, who are caught napping when the flooding begins. Everytime, a promise is made to them in the matter but nothing changes.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the governing civic body of Mumbai, is at the center of public outrage and anger with allegations of desilting scams against it. The authority will not only have to brace for floods but also the wrath of every other Mumbaikar. From sarcastic to sympathy, the residents of Mumbai have left little breathing space for the BMC to crawl out from the flood of tweets.
Some Precautionary Measures
- Always carry these things during the rainy season in your bag- umbrella with firm stretcher, and a bunch of plastic bags to protect your phones, laptops, wallets, watches, etc.
- Avoid wearing heels or leather boots during Mumbai monsoons. Instead, put on sturdy sneakers, rain boots, or shoes with rubber soles.
- To avoid situations when you are drenched from head to toe with rain water, always carry extra clothes in your bag (don’t forget extra pair of socks)
- Always keep a watch on your diet during the monsoons as the street food can bring a severely affect in your bowels.
- Beware of manholes or potholes on the streets.