Excess rain in Mumbai has meant immense chaos and vulnerable roads leading to problems beyond what can be estimated. However what we must understand is that this is intrinsically related to the kind of development that we have prioritised and our ecological insensitivity. This piece explores these significant questions.
Mark Johnson is currently working as a freelance journalist .
Questions once again arise about our preparedness for the rains. As pictures from Bombay reveal the terrible impact that the incessant rains have had on the city over the last two days is evidence enough of the fact that despite the fact that annually we bear the brunt of heavy rainfall we as a nation are not adequately prepared to deal with its consequences. With water logging and often entering housing in low lying areas to traffic jams that last several hours to the rise in prices of food and consumer goods –the rains drench us in havoc each time they come. Perhaps this has a lot to do with the way that we have approached the question of development in our urban centres and neglected many environmental questions that should have been central to our plans.
This has meant that gradually we have reached at a stage where our city planning is unsustainable, ecologically destructive and imbalanced. The extension of areas under concrete has meant that there is there is no place for rain water to percolate underground thus each time excess rainfall occurs it leads to flooding and broken roads. In New Delhi too there is a constantly problem when ceaseless rain takes place as it completely handicaps the city and creates massive problems on road for commuters.
The question that we must ask here is whether any single authority can be held responsible for this chaos or do we all have some role to play in it? This means that we all have done our part to contribute to the problem and these are blames to be put on each one of us for the menace. Do we care enough for nature or try to live sustainably? Have we been able to refuse the use of plastic in all its forms? Have we thought to manage without buying a car, without splurging on a mobile phone or buying things that are non-biodegradable? Just planting a tree sampling on environment day and an occasional car pool is all that we have shown efforts toward and in the long run this has insignificant results on the condition of the environment.
The issue of the rain is only one among the many ill ways that we treat the environment; it speaks a lot about our aggressive and unsustainable ways of life. Let us take a moment and think of the situation and how we have a role to play in it. The nature is intrinsic to our existence and we cannot think of it only when a problem arises. It is time that we, especially in the mega cities took control and extend a hand of friendship towards nature in the truest sense of the phrase.