The thick plume of dust that covered the city on Wednesday thinned out by Thursday evening though the pollution level remained high.
Mumbaiites were caught unawares on Wednesday as the city was covered by a huge cloud of dust. A dust storm in Rajasthan had displaced sand and dust particles, carrying them all the way to Mumbai. Weathermen had attributed the dust storm to high temperatures in Rajasthan that lifted the sand with the winds.
Visibility marginally increased from 500m to 1km on Wednesday to 2km on Thursday.
Weathermen at India Meteorological Department (IMD), Colaba, said that the haze would clear completely by Friday. “The suspension of dust particles had reduced on Thursday as the haze was not the result of a local disturbance. The storm in Rajasthan has dissipated causing the plume of dust to settle down in Mumbai,” said VK Rajeev, director, IMD, western region.
According to Maharashtra Pollution Control Board officials, the respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) reduced from 1200 microgram/cubic metre on Wednesday to 600-microgram/cubic metre on Thursday. Although the RSPM reduced by half, it was still six times the permissible level of 100-microgram/cubic metre.
The high pollution levels continued to bog commuters allergic to dust particles. Patients with respiratory conditions have shown symptoms such as cough, breathlessness and wheezing. Allergic reactions also include runny noses. The particles in the air and pollution has affected elderly people and patients with chronic infections more than others,” said Dr Shahid Barmare, a consultant physician.