It’s a very poor start to the New Year — at least in terms of the air you will breathe.
A pollution forecast has said the air quality in Mumbai over the next two days is expected to be ‘very poor’. On December 31, the city’s air quality index (AQI) – the pollutant measuring indicator – is expected to be 302, or very poor. AQI levels on January 1 are expected to be at the borderline of ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ at 300, said a New Year air quality forecast report from the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).
“Everyone is advised to avoid prolonged or heavy outdoor activity and everyone is advised to wear a mask and drink plenty of water,” read the health advisory from SAFAR.
“Air quality in Mumbai will remain ‘very poor’, which may cause respiratory illnesses on prolonged exposure. Everyone may experience health effects. You are advised to ensure minimum exposure to the pollution.”
In the next two days, Malad and Navi Mumbai will be hit worst by pollution, while the best air quality has been predicted at Worli and Bhandup.
AQI levels between 201 and 300, is considered ‘poor’, while that ranging from 301 and above is ‘very poor’. Last year, the city recorded an AQI of 311 (very poor) on December 31 but pollution levels dropped to the ‘poor’ category of 300 on January 1.
To ensure the situation does not get worse, SAFAR officials advised Mumbaiites don’t burst firecrackers between December 31 and January 1. “This is a bad spell for air quality in Mumbai because of low minimum temperatures, which is around the 16ºC mark along with moderate winds (6km/hr),” said Gufran Beig, project director, SAFAR.
The prediction added pollution levels are likely to drop on January 2, with a predicted AQI of 296 (poor). “The wind speed is likely to pick up and temperatures are expected to rise marginally on January 2,” said Beig.