Explained | What is the Mumbai Climate Action Plan?

With a dedicated climate action plan, the BMC aims to make Mumbai a climate-resilient city.

March 18, 2022 03:42 pm | Updated March 19, 2022 07:13 pm IST

Bandra-Worli Sea Link in Mumbai, Maharashtra

Bandra-Worli Sea Link in Mumbai, Maharashtra | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The story so far: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray launched the Mumbai Climate Action Plan (MCAP) at an event in the state capital on Sunday. The plan is essentially designed to reduce emissions and meet the climate goals outlined in the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 °C.

With the MCAP, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) aims to help Mumbai become a climate-resilient city. The plan has been drafted by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) with support from World Resources Institute (WRI) India.

Other organisations that partnered with the Government of Maharashtra in the initiative are the C40 Cities Network, Climate Voices Maharashtra, and Waatavaran. Mumbai had joined the C40 Cities Network in 2020.

What is the C40 Cities network?

The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group is an association of 97 cities from around the world, aimed at fighting climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, thus mitigating climate risks. The group represents one-twelfth of the world population and a quarter of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The goal of the C40’s initiative is to reduce the emissions of its member cities to half within a decade. Membership to the group comes from performance-based requirements.

Five Indian cities are currently a part of the C40 network. These are Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Mumbai.

What are the key action areas of the MCAP?

Sustainable waste management: The MCAP aims to decentralise municipal waste management by implementing actions such as segregation at source, organic waste composting, and so on. It lays emphasis on the 4R approach: reduce, reuse, recover, recycle, and also calls for treatment of wastewater.

Urban greening and biodiversity: Mumbai has some of the lowest per capita green space ratios in the country. The restoration and enhancement of biodiversity are some of the primary concerns of the MCAP. This includes increasing vegetation cover to minimise the rise in temperature, reduce the effect of heatwaves and arrest urban flooding. The policy also calls for green space access for all citizens.

Urban flooding and water resource management: The MCAP focuses on reducing problems caused due to waterlogging and floods while also dealing with the lack of safe and affordable drinking water.

Mumbai is highly susceptible to coastal risks due to storms, and also faces extreme precipitation during monsoons, leading to frequent flooding in low-lying areas. The climate action plan aims at building flood-resilient infrastructure in the city by improving drainage networks and by improving early warning systems and sensitising vulnerable and coastal communities. It also promotes framing policies that promote the reuse of water through measures like increased percolation and rainwater harvesting.

Energy and buildings: Strategies to make Mumbai emission-free include minimising the role of carbon in electricity grids and promoting a transition to clean fuel resources. The MCAP aims to achieve this target by improving energy efficiency in both new and existing infrastructure and promoting green buildings.

Air quality: According to the action plan, the primary step in ensuring the improvement of air quality is curbing pollution concentration levels. Mumbai is ranked among the most polluted cities of India.

The MCAP also outlines the need to decentralise the process of planning and increasing community awareness.

Sustainable mobility: According to the action plan, Mumbai will transition to using electric vehicles as opposed to fuel-powered ones. The policy also encourages the use of public transport systems that will, in turn, lead to cleaner air, reduced travel time and less congestion on the roads.

Why does Mumbai need a climate plan?

Since 1973, Mumbai has witnessed a constant warming trend with an average temperature increase of 0.25°C per decade. Between 1973 and 2020, the city faced 10 heatwaves and two extreme heatwaves. Mumbai has also seen an increase in flooding in recent years. The floods of 2005, 2014, and 2017 caused significant damage to life and property in the city.

The population of Mumbai is also vulnerable to air pollution, especially in high-risk areas where the concentration of air pollutants increases due to poor ventilation, use of non-LPG cooking fuel, or occupational hazards.

All these factors have contributed to the development of MCAP to mitigate climate risks to the residents of Mumbai.

(With inputs from Angelin Anna George)

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