Mumbai breathes most polluted air of 2019
The city recorded its worst air on Thursday as the air quality index (AQI) — a pollutant-measuring indicator — touched 277, under the “poor” category. Air quality marginally improved to 226 (poor) in the evening.
The AQI values are for PM2.5 pollutant — small pollutant particles of 2.5 micron size — which can easily enter the lungs and cause health ailments.
Mumbai’s air was in the poor category for the fifth consecutive day, caused largely by high humidity, which weighs down pollutants and the absence of wind that can sweep them away, said researchers from the System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), which records AQI data.
Prior to Thursday, the city had recorded its worst air day on January 20 at 273 (poor). AQI remained “poor” on a few days in February and March too.
SAFAR said strong monsoon conditions followed by the impact of tropical cyclones in the Arabian Sea had kept pollution levels low through most of 2019.
On Thursday, Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) was the most polluted zone in the city with “very poor” AQI of 313, while Andheri, Mazgaon, Malad and Chembur recorded ‘poor’ air .
Humidity was 88% in south Mumbai and 80% in the suburbs. The maximum and minimum temperatures were similar to previous days, but above the normal mark.
An AQI of 255 has been predicted for Friday.