Dust storm leaves Mumbai in a haze

  • Badri Chatterjee, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Apr 06, 2015 00:48 IST

The city woke up to a hazy Sunday and dust-laden winds were reported in areas like Chembur, Borivli and Thane.

Experts said the dust storm of sorts was an effect of the sandstorm that took place in the Persian Gulf a few days ago. The dust also mixed with pollutant particles already present in the air.

“Westerly winds carried dust from the sandstorm that took place in the Persian Gulf on Friday, all the way up to the western coast of India. A similar phenomenon was seen in south Gujarat on Saturday,” said Ajay Kumar, director, India Meteorological Department (IMD).

“We are expecting the dust to clear and visibility to improve by tomorrow,” Kumar said.

However, with summer setting in, westerly winds from the sea are bringing in a lot of moisture that mixes with pollutants in the air, leading to the haziness, the IMD said.

“As temperatures are changing because of the onset of summer, pollutant particles in the air are mixing with the rising humidity levels. Dust from construction and vehicles add to this,” said Rakesh Kumar, chief scientist, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).

The dust also reduced the quality of air in the city.

The United States Embassy and Consulates’ Air Quality Monitor, which studies the city’s air every day, said Mumbai fell under the ‘very unhealthy’ category on Sunday.

“Dust is a major cause of many allergies, itching of the skin and redness in the eyes. It also causes long-term problems such as asthma and bronchitis,” said Dr Sanjeev Mehta, pulmonologist (chest specialist), at Lilavati Hospital, Bandra.

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