Diwali firecrackers, changing weather to turn Mumbai air ‘very poor’ for 3 days from today
Mumbai’s air quality is likely to be in the ‘very poor’ category for three days beginning Wednesday, according to the revised forecast for air pollution levels in the city for Diwali by the System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).
A sharp rise in pollution levels was recorded in the city on Tuesday leading to hazy conditions. The air-quality index (AQI) moved from 95, falling under the ‘satisfactory’ category to 154 on Tuesday morning and fell again to 145 by the evening, both falling under the ‘moderate’ category. The most polluted areas in the city on Tuesday were Mazagaon (322), Andheri (308), and Bandra-Kurla Complex (302). All the places recorded ‘very poor’ air quality.
An AQI level from 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 is satisfactory, 101-200 is moderate, 201-300 is poor, 301-400 is very poor, and 401 and above is severe.
According to SAFAR’s revised forecast, an AQI of 306 has been predicted for Wednesday (Diwali), 339 for Thursday (a day after Diwali), and 302 for Friday. All AQI levels fall under the ‘very poor’ category. From Saturday onwards AQI levels are expected to drop back to 197, falling under the ‘moderate’ category. Between Wednesday and Thursday, the pollution hotspots in the city are expected to be Andheri and Mazgaon.
Researchers said the rise in pollution levels on Tuesday and high air pollution forecast for subsequent days was the result of changing weather conditions and external emissions such as the use of firecrackers. “From windy conditions witnessed over the weekend and on Monday, the air quality deteriorated from Tuesday owing to dry conditions and calm winds over Mumbai,” said Gufran Beig, project director, SAFAR. “As there are no chances of rain or increased wind speed, pollution levels will be high till Friday.”
The forecast by SAFAR said the highest levels of particulate matter (PM) are expected between 12am and 3am on November 7-8 (Wednesday night to Thursday early morning). PM2.5 - small particles predominantly a part of dust of 2.5 microns in size that can penetrate deeper into the lungs and enter the bloodstream – is expected to be 127 µg/m3 (microgrammes per cubic metre) on Wednesday and 170 µg/m3 on Thursday against a safe limit of 60 µg/m3. For PM10 – slightly larger, but coarser particles – are expected to be 195µg/m3 on Wednesday and 255µg/m3 on Thursday as against the safe limit of 100µg/m3 for 24 hours.
Last year, Mumbai recorded ‘poor’ air quality on Diwali and 319 (very poor) AQI a day after Diwali.