Mumbai’s Dharavi slum is the third largest slum in the world. For many, it is an embarrassing sight in the heart of India’s financial capital. But for its residents, Dharavi is home. It is a city within a city. Nearly a million people live here. The population density is an astounding 1200 per acre, which is ten times higher than Mumbai’s average. It is an informal settlement with rents as low as Rs.200 per month. It is famed for its pottery and recycling industries, composed of single-room factories.
The annual turnover of business here is $650 million. It is a haven for disease outbreaks and a public health nightmare. Many plans have been proposed to transform Dharavi into a modern township. This would mean proper housing, healthcare, and education. Such a rebuilding project is estimated to cost $2 billion. But, residents fear that rebuilding Dharavi is lengthy and will destroy the local economy. The people there only know pottery and recycling. For them, better living could negatively affect their only means of livelihood.