A Collective Failure
It takes just a few hours of downpour to cause waterlogging and flooding in Dimapur, exposing the city’s vulnerability to natural hazards. Many low-lying areas were affected when rains lashed the city last weekend. Even hours after the rain had stopped, students who go to school on foot had to remove their footwear to attend classes and commuters had to manoeuvre their vehicles through waterlogged streets. This is not an uncommon scene during rainy season. While it may not be possible to avoid such a situation completely, the inability to mitigate it despite witnessing almost every year goes on to show the collective failure of the government, Dimapur Municipal Council, and the citizens. Measures like good drainage system, timely removal of silt before the monsoon season begins, repairing and levelling of roads, etc. are necessary to avoid waterlogging and floods. Unfortunately, many roads in the interior part of the state’s commercial hub are pothole-ridden, which hold water when it rains. It makes driving in the city roads dangerous and accident-prone besides disrupting vehicular movement, air pollution, wastage of fuel, etc. The state government and Dimapur Municipal Council should seriously look into these issues. The citizens too should imbibe civic sense, make cleanliness a lifestyle and dispose of wastes properly. It is convenient to point fingers at the government for the inconvenience but most of it is our own making. The waste, especially plastic items dropped on the roadside or open spaces choke the drains and cause waterlogging. Lack of civic sense and poor infrastructure become a deadly combination when hit by natural calamities.
One common cause of floods in most cities is unplanned urbanisation and ever-expanding human settlement especially in low-lying areas. Water naturally flows to lower grounds, so, when these areas that once held rain water and turned into water bodies during the monsoon season are replaced by concrete structures, it flows into empty spaces like roads and homes. The growing concrete area is also not helping as it reduces the seepage of rainwater into the ground, which in turn affects the underground water recharge process. The consequences of unregulated urbanisation will be manifold- floods on one hand and shortage of drinking water on the other besides loss of lives and properties. For sustainable growth, the concerned authorities should regulate urbanisation, especially restricting of human settlement in low-lying areas and wetlands. Urbanisation should be accompanied by basic amenities like good drainage system, scientific waste management, clean drinking water and good roads, etc. Meanwhile, the citizens of Dimapur should get rid of greed for wealth, stop land encroachment and avoid disrupting the flow of water by occupying the wetlands. Failing to do so can result in human-made disasters in the future.