Air quality levels in the city on Thursday was the worst since November 12, the day after Diwali. Mumbai recorded an air quality index (AQI) – a pollution measuring indicator - of 312 which falls under the ‘very poor’ category. Pollution is expected to worsen today (Friday) with the AQI expected to touch 320.
Thursday’s AQI was higher than the 311 recorded on December 31 and 305 on New Years Day. On the day after Diwali, the AQI was 313
The health advisory statement issued on Thursday by the by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) that monitors and forecasts air quality in Mumbai said, “People are advised to avoid outdoor activity, especially children and senior citizens. It is advisable to use pollution masks.”
Gufran Beig, project director, SAFAR said, “For the last one week, we have observed an increase in air pollution levels owing to a rise in moisture levels. High humidity levels mixed with calm winds have lifted pollutant particles and brought them closer to the earth’s surface, creating a thick layer of pollution across Mumbai’s air.”
Beig added that since there is no real-time data available from previous years, it is not clear whether pollution levels are this high during January. “According to our research, it seems that the meteorological conditions during December and January increases air quality every year. We will only be able to confirm that after repeated research. For now, Mumbaiites should take adequate precautions as pollution levels are going to get worse,” he said.
For the last six days, Chembur was the only location among the sites measured by SAFAR that recorded ‘good’ air quality while the other eight locations either recorded ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ levels with Malad being the highest during all six days. On Thursday, Andheri was the most polluted location in the city with an AQI of 382.