Global Network

Mumbai (Bombay), India


The Mega-Cities Coordinator in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) is the Director of the Host Institution. She has received specialized training in urban planning and labor studies through the International Labor Organization. Her doctoral work at the University of Bombay is specific to the areas of informal networks and waste recycling. She has conducted research assignments in the several areas, including: social aspects of solid waste management, rent control mechanisms, municipal finance, environmental improvement of slums, and the urban informal sector. Through national and foreign sponsorship, she has also coordinated several urban and labor management training programs. Other projects on which the Coordinator is currently working include a research study on the role of female rag pickers in solid waste management in Greater Mumbai, and training programs for elected women municipal councilors.



The Mega-Cities Host Institution in Mumbai is an institute that promotes and supports research and training in municipal administration. In addition to publishing bibliographies, articles, books, and other literature on information of interest to local bodies, they also undertake consulting assignments in various areas of urban development, with a view to improving and developing organizational, managerial and operational efficiency. The Mumbai Mega-Cities Project was funded by UNDP to produce a case study on the CORO Pay Toilet Project and to initiate the transfer of the Cairo based Zabbaleen Environmental and Development Program through the Mumbai Municipal Corporation, which is incorporating the innovation into their "rag-pickers initiative."



  • Ms. Sudha Bhave, Additional Municipal Commissioner, Municipal Cooperation of Greater Mumbai
  • Mr. V.R. Hashing, Ex-Housing Minister, Government of Maharashtra, Mumbai
  • Ms. Jyoti Mhapsekar, Activist, Stree Muleti Sanghathana, Mumbai
  • Ms. Sharade Sathe, Member, State Women's Commission Government of Maharashtra, Mumbai
  • Mr. S. M. U. Sastry, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai
  • Mr. Sandanand Varde, Ex-Education Minister, Government of Maharashtra, Mumbai



Mumbai traces its origins to a small fortified settlement of the East India Company. By the late 18th Century, it was primarily a marine supply point with few links to the hinterland. In the mid-19th Century, its primary industry changed from exporting to importing.

Today Mumbai occupies an area of 437.71 square kilometers with 12.5 million inhabitants. The growth rate in the area is 4.2% per year, and the population density is 45,989 per square kilometer.

Mumbai has a birth rate of 20.1 per 1000, and a death rate of 6.0 per 1,000. The infant mortality rate is 48.6 per 1,000.

The engineering industry of Mumbai is mixed with a wide range of light and medium engineering products. Printing, publishing, and food manufacturing are other important industries. Although the growth of factories has been restricted since 1981, small industries have been growing and providing employment.

Health and Environment
The air, noise, and water pollution in Mumbai are well above tolerable levels. 70 to 75% of women living in slums complain of general weakness and anemia, while 50 to 60% suffer from chronic malnutrition, recurrent gastro-enteritis, and helminthic infections. Malnutrition and paralysis are common causes of mortality.

Infrastructure and Social Services
Mumbai faces a severe housing crisis, especially among its slum populations. 3.5 million inhabitants occupy 8,000 acres of land, meaning that two out of every five slum dwellers lives in an area with a density of 400 persons per acre. Mumbai is home to the largest slum in Asia, the Dharavi slum with over 500,000 occupants. An estimated 55% of the city population live in slums and 25% live in dilapidated chawls. More than 2 million of Mumbai's residents have no sanitary facilities.

Water Supply—The supply level is so low that it is restricted to between 2 and 8 hours per day depending on location.

Sewerage—The entire city has access to a sewage system, albeit one that is inadequate and outdated.

Transportation—There are 450,000 private automobiles on Mumbai streets that contribute to traffic congestion in the metropolis. The total length of Mumbai's roads is 1713.03 kilometers. Mumbai has a substantial public transport system consisting of suburban rail services and a municipal bus service. Public transport accounts for about 90% of all person trips.



CORO Pay Toilet Project
In July 1992, CORO took over the management of government constructed toilet facilities in congested slum areas where stationary toilets have proven difficult to build and nearly impossible to maintain. Building a unique partnership between their new sanitation project and their long-standing literacy program, CORO combined community library facilities with their sanitary facilities. Local groups manage the toilets on a cooperative basis, sometimes finding sponsors for the poorest areas where the residents cannot pay for the upkeep of the toilets. Community members benefit from clean facilities and adequate water, while five hundred new maintenance jobs have been created.

Child to Child Programme
The Child to Child Programme is an activity-based approach to health education for children in formal and non-formal systems of education. The program identifies children as "mini-doctors." It began with elder child to younger child communication and has gradually expanded to include child-to-peer, child-to-family, and child-to-community linkages. These "mini-doctors" have created awareness among children regarding their own health. Through outreach activities this awareness is then communicated to the rest of the community.


The Mega-Cities Project is a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) tax status.
Founder and President: Janice Perlman, PhD. Information:
Copyright 2000-2007 The Mega-Cities Project. All rights reserved.