If you’ve been wondering why it’s so hazy since the past few days, it’s because winter is setting in.
But what’s enveloping Mumbai is not fog, but smog — an unhealthy mix of fog and smoke.
As the mercury dips, air pollutants cling to the moisture and settle closer to the ground, affe-cting visibility and raising pollution levels. In other seasons, pollutants rise much higher.
“Smog presence will continue throughout winter,” said R.V. Sharma, deputy director, India Meteorological Department. “Polluted areas like Chembur and suburbs like Bandra that are on the coastline are likely to witness more smoggy days.”
The first week of December has seen a 25 per cent rise in respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM), a major pollutant, reveals data from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board. Until November-end the average RSPM level was 200 pg/m3; now it’s 250 pg/m3. The permissible level set by the MPCB is 150 pg/m3.
High RSPM levels can trigger respiratory problems. “People who have asthma or bronchitis are more prone to conditions like pneumonia when the temperatures dip,” said Dr Kushrav Bajan from Hinduja hospital.
Doctors said there’s a rise in the number of people with cold, cough and flu-like symptoms. “People are also reporting conjunctivitis and gastroenteritis,” Dr Bajan said.
(With inputs from Neha Bhayana)