Where Does the Road Take You?

While some cities race to combat climate change,
desperate to stay below 2 degrees,
we are filling our seas with concrete and red mud.
Just a little cosmetic botox, the city really needs!
Invading 111 hectares of sea land,
equivalent to 155 football fields,
to build long winding roads and tunnels
over and under the Arabian Sea.

Altering Mumbai’s iconic coastline forever.

One wonders,
who is this road being built for?
100,000 cars daily, the most optimistic say!
8 lanes, 22 km long and free!
Befitting only for a fraction of the city’s population,
but at the expense of all.

Once protected by environment and wildlife laws,
the fragile coastal seas and wetlands today
are an open playground for development.

Beyond the yellow barricades,
the cranes, trucks, bulldozers and cement mixers,
Conceal your view of the uninterrupted stretches
of the sea, the sunset and the truth.

The trembling sounds and
the vibrations of the endless drilling,
dispersing the fish away from the coast,
away from their breeding grounds.

But where did they go?
The lobsters, the octopus
and the 36 identified species at risk
Where did the migratory birds fly away to?
Did the 18 coral colonies survive
the translocation and the promises?

Beyond the yellow barricades,
are the unaccounted repercussions of the shifting tides,
untold stories of the loss of livelihood of fisherfolk,
unimaginable destruction of our fragile marine biodiversity.

All being wiped out, day and night at a ruthless pace.

Their small voices drown…
Petitions and reports dismissed…
“Misconceived, baseless and devoid of merit!” they say.

The sea walls go up and a lone boat sails off into the sunset.

But where is this road headed?

Tanisha Arora is a Mumbai based multi-disciplinary creator who uses storytelling, strategy and design as mediums to communicate to people across the world the impact that human intervention has had – and is having – on our planet and the need for climate action.

Featured image: Tanisha Arora