Of the seven major metro cities in the state, including Pune, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Nashik, where air quality was tested from January to December last year, it was found that Mumbai (at Sion) fared the worst.
According to the figures provided by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, mentioned in the state economic survey that was tabled in the legislature on Tuesday, the respiratory suspended particulate matter (RSPM), which are air-borne particles that affect respiratory organs, averaged at 124.49 microgram per cubic centimeter (ug/m3) and reached a maximum of 535 ug/m3 when the permissible limit is 100.
With a diameter of less than 10 micrometres, RSPM is more dangerous as it can affect the efficiency of respiratory organs over time.
High levels of particulate matter can lead to bronchitis, sinusitis, throat infections, runny nose, burning eyes and cough. They heighten the risk of cardiopulmonary disorders and lung cancer.
Navi Mumbai topped the list for air quality deterioration caused due to vehicular and industrial pollution.
While the concentration of sulphur dioxide (SO2) that is emitted by industries, stood at 82 ug/m3, though the permissible limit is only 80.
Similarly, in case of nitrogen oxide (NO2), the permissible limit is 80 ug/m3, but the Navi Mumbai reading was 290. But Mumbai is not too far behind and exceeds the limits in case of NO2, which is a result of high vehicular pollution.
Mumbai, which arguably has the highest number of vehicles, has a NO2 count of 269 ug/m3 that is over three times of the permissible limit.
Interestingly, a study of the day-night noise pollution in the residential areas of seven cities on December 18 and 19 in 2011 showed that Mumbai (Shivaji Park) was the quietest, with noise levels of 53.8 decibels on one day and 54 dB on the other. Nashik (Pandit colony) was the noisiest, with 70.6 and 74.8 on the two days.