The week has begun with a significant improvement in the city’s air quality, as the pollution-measuring indicator on Monday recorded the lowest pollution levels since the beginning of this year. After ten days of ‘poor’ to ‘very poor’ air quality owing to a fire at the Deonar dumping ground along with low temperatures and calm winds, Mumbaiites got respite from the high pollution levels.
The System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) observed an air quality index (AQI) of 128, which falls under the ‘moderate’ category, on Monday morning and it further dropped to 124 by evening.
SAFAR has predicted AQI levels to stay in the ‘moderate’ category (128) on Tuesday. The last time the city recorded ‘moderate’ air quality was on January 15 when the levels were 189.
“Wind speed picked up from Saturday night and significantly increased through the day on Sunday and Monday. The wind speed is seven times more than the last fortnight and that has led to the dispersion of a large amount of pollutants. We expect the current AQI to stay at the same level for the next three to four days,” said Gufran Beig, project director, SAFAR. “During the monsoon, a week-long phase had seen AQI levels fall in the ‘good’ category.”
On Monday, only three of the 10 locations, where readings are taken, recorded ‘poor’ air quality levels, with Mazgaon being the most polluted at 259. While majority of the locations observed ‘moderate’ air quality, Worli and Malad had the cleanest air with AQI levels of 64 and 72, respectively.
Locations such as Chembur, which are closer to the Deonar dumping ground and had been reeling under ‘very poor’ air quality levels during the fire, observed ‘moderate’ AQI of 152 on Monday morning. It went up to 162 by evening.
Residents of Chembur said visibility levels were considerably better on Monday. “After around 10 days, we have opened our doors and windows and seen a clear sky. Complaints of heaviness in breathing and redness in the eyes have reduced. But, we are still eagerly awaiting the administration to shut down the Deonar dumping ground before another fire starts,” said Indresh Pradhan, resident of Chembur.
Meanwhile, the city continued to witness a dip in mercury as temperatures in the suburbs were two degrees below normal on Monday. While the minimum temperature, recorded between 8.30am Sunday and 8.30am on Monday, was 14.8 degrees Celsius in the suburbs, in the island city, it was 18.5 degrees Celsius. Weathermen have predicted clear skies for Tuesday, with maximum and minimum temperatures expected to be 30 degrees Celsius and 16 degrees Celsius, respectively.