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Mumbai is sinking on an average of 2 mm every year: Study

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A new research has revealed that Mumbai is sinking by an average of 2 mm annually because of a geographical phenomenon known as land subsidence – downward, vertical movement of the earth’s surface.

Though global warming is one of the main reasons for the phenomenon, it is not the only culprit. 

According to a study, published in the peer-reviewed Geophysical Research Letters Journal in March, groundwater extraction, mining, reclamation of natural wetlands, infrastructure projects and ecological disturbances is leading to land subsidence in Mumbai.

The study titled “Subsidence in Coastal Cities Throughout the World” reads, “Mumbai is the seventh-most populous city in the world with a population of roughly 20 million. A significant portion of the city is subsiding more rapidly than 2 mm/yr.”

The observation has been made after measuring the subsidence rate in Mumbai between 2015 and 2020.

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The study also analyzed the land subsidence in 99 countries globally and found that Tianjin in China is the fastest sinking coastal city in the world at a rate of 5.2 cm per year.


Meanwhile, another research, conducted by the Centre of Studies in Resources Engineering at IIT Bombay, has identified two major subsidence areas in Mumbai – Vasai and Wadala.

This research has found a strong correlation between land subsidence, groundwater extraction, and the proximity of the area to mangrove plantations and the coastline.

“A densely populated and irregularly constructed slum area along the Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road merging with the Sion-Panvel Expressway also shows subsidence in the range of 60mm over the same period,” the study adds.

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