Areas in Mumbai with less green cover, more concrete are warmer: study

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With green cover of less than 10 per cent and more concretization, areas like Dongari, Bhuleshwar and Kurla are warmer than other parts of the city, according to the green cover map study by World Resources Institute (WRI) India. Areas like Mulund and Borivali with up to 70 per cent green cover recorded lower temperatures.
The data was shared by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday during a webinar on Urban Greening and Biodiversity for Mumbai Climate Action Plan (MCAP).

The ward-wise green cover map of all 24 administrative wards indicating vegetation and mean surface temperature was calculated based on satellite imagery of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and BMC’s tree census data which was completed in 2017.
The data study from 2015 to 2020 shows that the temperature was as low as 28 degree Celsius in Mulund area and as high as 34 degree Celsius in areas like Dongari. As per the BMC tree census data, Mumbai has 29.75 lakh trees.
“The satellite data of tree foliage and tree census numbers were used for the green cover map,” said Lubaina Rangwala, Associate Director, WRI India Center for sustainable cities.
As per the study, B ward (Dongari, Umerkhadi) has the lowest green cover of less than 10 per cent in C ward (Bhuleshwar, Kalbadevi) and L ward (Kurla) and 20 per cent in E ward (Byculla). The civic tree census data shows that there are 7816 trees in B ward, 5757 trees in C ward and 36,023 trees in L ward.
On the other hand, T ward (Mulund) and R-central ward (Borivali) have green cover of 70 per cent and R-north (Dahisar) 60 per cent. More concretization and less green cover are the main reasons for higher temperature.
Meanwhile, in 2021, carbon sequestration in trees across the city is 22,490 metric tonnes excluding forest areas like Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Aarey Milk Colony in Goregaon. Similarly, carbon sequestration in mangroves and wetlands in Mumbai is 42,139 metric tonne per year.
Carbon sequestration is the storage of carbon in plants, ocean, soils, which can help in lowering the atmosphere.Calling intense concretization a threat, experts said that urban greening and protection of biodiversity will help in flood mitigation, access to open spaces and heat resilience.
Samarth Das, urban designer and architect based in Mumbai, and part of the expert panel in the webinar, said that natural assets and their buffer zones should be integrated to promote awareness and ensure protection of urban green spaces.
“Authorities should focus more on planting native species trees that are suited for soil nature. Tree plantation does not mean planting any tree without understanding the requirements of the area,” said Pradeep Tripathi, founder of NGO Green Yatra, who was also part of the webinar.
Superintendent of Gardens Jeetendra Pardesi said they will consider the suggestions from the webinar.

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