A layer of smoke across the city skyline indicated high pollution levels in Mumbai, as the pollutant measuring indicator – air quality index (AQI) was dangerously close to ‘very poor’ levels on Tuesday.
The System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) recorded an increase in AQI levels increase from 280 during the day to 291 by the evening, both falling under the ‘poor’ category. An AQI between 201 and 300 is considered poor, that between 301 and 400 is ‘very poor’, which means people with heart or lung disease, older adults and children should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.
Pollution levels are expected to get worse in the city as an AQI of 293 (poor) was predicted for Wednesday.
Seven of 10 locations on Wednesday recorded ‘very poor’ AQI levels, with Andheri being the most polluted at 350, which was one of the highest pollution readings for the location, followed by Mazgaon, Bandra-Kurla Complex and Malad. Borivli recorded the cleanest air in the city with an AQI of 177, falling under the ‘moderate’ category.
Officials from the weather bureau said the city observed calm winds between 0 – 1 knots per hour throughout the day. “While weather factors such as temperature and moisture were normal, pollution levels increased because wind speed was very low on Tuesday. If this phenomenon tends to happen then the pollutants are not easily dispersed from the city’s air,” said Biswajit Mukhopadhyay, additional director general, India Meteorological Department.
He added the source of the pollutants is a ridge line (high pressure area) 300km north of Mumbai that is allowing pollutants to move towards the city. “While this condition is common during this time of the year, additional sources such as vehicular pollution, construction dust and open burning have increased pollution,” said Mukhopadhyay.
On Tuesday, south Mumbai recorded day and night temperatures closer to the normal mark, but the suburbs recorded the night temperature almost 2 degrees below normal at 19.6 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature at the Santacruz weather station was a degree Celsius above normal at 34.6 degrees Celsius.
“Due to warm winds from the east prevailing during the day that shifts to north-westerly by night, we expect temperatures to remain at the same level for the next few days. There might be an increase from the weekend onwards and pollution levels might drop,” said VK Rajeev, director, western region, IMD.
AQI levels in the city on Tuesday and forecast for Wednesday
Mumbai overall on Tuesday: 291 (poor)
Predicted AQI for Mumbai for Wednesday: 293 (poor)
|Location||AQI on Tuesday||Predicted AQI for Wednesday|
|Andheri||350 (Very Poor)||350 (Very Poor)|
|Mazgaon||322 (Very Poor)||320 (Very Poor)|
|Bandra Kurla Complex||317 (Very Poor)||317 (Very Poor)|
|Malad||316 (Very Poor)||315 (Very Poor)|
|Navi Mumbai||312 (Very Poor)||313 (Very Poor)|
|Chembur||304 (Very Poor)||305 (Very Poor)|
|Bhandup||301 (Very Poor)||300 (Poor)|
|Colaba||266 (Poor)||280 (Poor)|
|Worli||248 (Poor)||256 (Poor)|
|Borivali||177 (Moderate)||176 (Moderate)|
(All AQI levels are in PM2.5 values monitored by the SAFAR)