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Sunday, May 19, 2024, 4:35 am

Sunday, May 19, 2024, 4:35 am

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Lifestyle

Mumbai battles heat wave.

Mumbai
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The built environment is once again in the spotlight, and rightfully so, as Mumbai battles another heat wave this weekend. This time, the warning came from none other than the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), whose representatives have said that the increase in high-rises—which retain heat for extended periods of time and exacerbate the urban heat island effect—is one of the reasons behind the city’s rising maximum temperatures. After the 2015 study that unequivocally described the urban heat island effect in Mumbai—a phenomenon in which temperatures in an urban region are greater than those in its surrounding, greener, less concrete areas—the IMD caution is the most persuasive indication that the issue exists.
Over the past few days, highs have reached 40 degrees Celsius. This next weekend, scorching conditions are predicted by the IMD for Thane, portions of Raigad, and Mumbai.

When the maximum temperature exceeds 37 degrees Celsius and deviates more than 4.5 degrees Celsius from the average, it is typically referred to be a heatwave. Nonetheless, two factors are typically disregarded. First, there is a noticeable discrepancy in Mumbai between the ambient temperature and the Heat Index, which is often between 4-6 degrees Celsius and takes relative humidity into account. Accordingly, on days when the temperature registers barely 37 degrees Celsius, individuals are having difficulty in conditions that feel like they are much beyond 40. Second, unlike its flood procedure, which includes an early warning system, the city has not yet developed and implemented a heat wave protocol.

The main causes of the issue, though, are the rapacious construction that is consuming the city’s green spaces and open places for “development,” the concretization of those areas that renders them heat- and water-tight, and the building materials that are employed. The government will need to review building bye-laws and rules, make all construction more environmentally friendly, and plant more trees in order to literally make Mumbai cooler.

ABHISHEK VERMA


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