For the second day in a row, Mumbai enjoyed healthy air with the air quality index (AQI) levels dropping to 88 during the day and 87 by the evening, falling under the ‘good’ category.
The air in Mumbai on Saturday was the cleanest so far this year, improving from Friday’s AQI levels of 93. The current trend of low pollution is likely to continue on Sunday as well with a predicted AQI of 90. In comparison, Delhi and Pune recorded ‘moderate’ air quality at 176 and 124 respectively.
Weathermen said that during April and May, seasonal change in wind patterns leads to a drop in pollution levels. “The current weather conditions in Mumbai are acting like a natural air purifier for the city,” said KS Hosalikar, deputy director general, western region, India Meteorological Department. “Due to heightened moisture levels during the early hours of the day that leads to a rise in pollutants followed by gusty winds from the sea, dust is constantly getting carried away cleaning up the city’s air.”
Researchers from the System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) which monitors air quality at 10 locations in Mumbai said that the breeze coming from the sea had further picked up speed on Saturday, causing faster dispersion of pollutants from the city’s air.
“Westerly to north westerly winds from the sea have been travelling over the city at high speeds over the last three days and we expect the same to continue over the next 24 hours,” said an official from SAFAR.
For the first time this year, seven out of 10 locations in Mumbai observed ‘good’ air quality; three places recorded ‘moderate’ levels of pollution on Saturday. Air quality in Chembur, which was among the areas worst-affected by the fire at Deonar landfill, was the best in the city on Saturday with an AQI of 57. Colaba enjoyed a similar AQI while Andheri was the most polluted location in the city with a reading of 156 (moderate).
Meanwhile, mercury levels further dropped at the suburbs and south Mumbai on Saturday as compared to previous days, moving more than a degree Celsius below normal at both locations. Between 5.30pm Friday and 5.30pm Saturday, the weather station at Santacruz recorded 31.8 degrees Celsius, which was 1.1 degree Celsius below normal. During the same time, Colaba recorded 30.6 degrees Celsius, 1.3 degree Celsius below normal.
Night temperatures, however, were higher at south Mumbai and closer to normal levels at the suburbs.