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Mumbai’s air quality worse than Delhi’s on Sunday

The pollutant measuring indicator — air quality index (AQI) — for Mumbai was 244 (classified as poor), while Delhi recorded 204 during the day

mumbai Updated: Dec 18, 2017 00:32 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai, India - Dec. 17, 2017: Fishermen fishing in arabian sea as Mumbai Skyline is engulfed by smog at Bnadra in Mumbai,India, on Sunday, December 17, 2017. (Photo by Kunal Patil/ Hindustan Times)(Kunal Patil/HT PHOTO)

For the first time this season and second time this year, air pollution levels in Mumbai were worse than in Delhi on Sunday.

The pollutant measuring indicator — air quality index (AQI) — for Mumbai was 244 (classified as poor), while Delhi recorded 204 during the day, which further fell to 183 (moderate) by evening, according to the
System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR). On March 13 this year, Mumbai had recorded an AQI of 312 (very poor), while Delhi recorded 105 (moderate).

Pune and Ahmedabad recorded ‘moderate’ air quality on Sunday. SAFAR predicted an AQI of 254 (poor) for Monday.

Prior to this, Mumbai recorded an AQI of 240 on December 10 and 232 on November 29.

On October 19 (Diwali), the AQI levels were at 204 (poor) and 316 (very poor) on October 20, the worst so far this year.

The AQI levels for PM2.5 pollutant — small pollutant particles that can easily enter the lungs and cause ailments — between 0-50 are good, 51-100 are satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor, and 400 and above are severe.

Researchers said there was nothing alarming about the pollutions levels in both the cities at this time of the year because of differing wind speeds in Mumbai and Delhi.

“In spite of cold weather in Delhi, the wind speed is quite high, which disperses a majority of the pollutants. However, for Mumbai, temperatures are not low, but owing high humidity and negligible wind speed, pollutants are not being dispersed from the city’s air. This is leading to haze early morning and in the evening,” said Gufran Beig, project director, SAFAR.

“People sensitive to air pollution may experience health effects, but the general public is less likely to be affected,” read the health statement. The concentration of PM2.5 was almost twice the safe limit. As against safe limit of 60 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m3), Mumbai recorded 109µg/m3. For PM10 (slightly larger, coarser particles), Mumbai recorded 188 µg/m3 as against 100 µg/m3 as the safe limit.

Beig added that Mumbai can expect current pollution levels to continue till Tuesday. “If wind speed picks up, then Mumbai can expect ‘moderate’ air quality from Wednesday onwards,” he said.

HT had reported in September that Mumbai had higher tinier, deadly pollutant particles in winter 2016 than Delhi. Ultrafine airborne particulate matter smaller than one micrometre (PM1) was 45 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m3) in Mumbai during December 2016 as against 42µg/m3 in Delhi, SAFAR had found.

Meanwhile, minimum temperatures in the city were close to the normal mark while the day temperature was a degree Celsius above normal.

First Published: Dec 18, 2017 00:30 IST