Despite the onset of summer, Mumbaiites have been inhaling highly polluted air this month, according to the air pollution data for March recorded by Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). While the city sees heavy air pollution in the winter months, as low temperatures prevent pollutants from dispersing, the pollution levels usually drop in summer.
This March, however, the fluctuating temperatures and variable humidity seem to have kept the pollution levels higher.
The average respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) recorded at Sion this month is 195.63-microgram/cubic metre (ug/m3) while nitrogen oxide (NOx) level is 143.05ug/m3. At the other monitoring station in Bandra, average RSPM level is 130.15ug/m3 while the NOx level is low at 36.15ug/m3.
While the maximum RSPM level recorded at Sion was 311ug/m3, it was 232ug/m3 at Bandra. These levels are almost double the permissible or safe limit of 100ug/m3 prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The RSPM is made up of fine particles released in the atmosphere and they harm respiratory organs.
“While analysing RSPM levels, we have to take into account the monitoring station’s proximity to the sea, humidity and its fluctuations. This month, there has been fluctuation in humidity levels. Even the difference between maximum and minimum temperatures affect the dispersal of pollutants,” said PK Mirashe, joint director, MPCB.