A day after pollution from the Deonar fire and Holi celebrations affected Mumbai’s air quality, the city woke up to its cleanest air in 2016 on Friday, mostly because the speedy winds had dispersed the pollutants.
The air quality index (AQI) was for the first time under ‘good’ category, meaning it was healthy to breathe the air. The reading on Friday morning was 99, compared to ‘poor’ AQI level of 245 on Thursday morning. AQI levels deteriorated marginally by the evening to 101, falling under the ‘moderate’ category.
Researchers from the System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), which monitors and forecasts air quality at 10 locations in Mumbai, said the weather conditions were responsible in cleaning up the city’s air. The wind speed was nearly three times more than that what was recorded over the past few days. “The sea has dispersed a large amount of pollutants from Mumbai’s air that were generated because of the Deonar fire and Holi effigies,” said Gufran Beig, director, SAFAR.
“The average air quality for Mumbai moved into the ‘good’ category for the first time this year, with a drop in pollution levels at all 10 stations, with some recording ‘good’ air quality,” said Neha Parkhi, senior programme manager, SAFAR. “The air quality is likely to stay between ‘good’ and ‘moderate’ for the next three days.”
Five out of 10 locations in Mumbai recorded ‘good’ air quality, while the remaining five observed ‘moderate’ levels. The AQI at locations such as Chembur and Navi Mumbai that recorded ‘very poor’ air quality levels of 301 on Monday and 309 on Tuesday was 88 and 82 respectively.
However, residents from different parts of the city were sceptical about Friday’s clean air report released by SAFAR.
“While the fire might be under control, the smoke from the Deonar dumping ground continues to make life miserable for Chembur, Govandi and Navi Mumbai residents,” said Dr Nirupama Rao, pulmonologist practising at Chembur. “There has been no significant decrease in symptoms like redness of the eyes, skin and cough related to allergies.”
“While travelling from Bandra to Navi Mumbai, I saw that there was dust in the air around Mahim, which further intensified at areas around Chembur, Govandi and Navi Mumbai. A thick line of smoke continued to emanate from the Deonar dumping ground,” said environmentalist Sumaira Abdulali.