Mumbai was most polluted in Maharashtra during Diwali, finds state pollution board | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Mumbai was most polluted in Maharashtra during Diwali, finds state pollution board

The pollution measuring indicator — air quality index (AQI) — was twice as much than last year in Mumbai

mumbai Updated: Oct 26, 2017 10:25 IST
Badri Chatterjee
After Mumbai, Nagpur and Dombivli were the most polluted on Diwali and the day before
After Mumbai, Nagpur and Dombivli were the most polluted on Diwali and the day before(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

Mumbai breathed the most polluted air in the state during the Diwali week, a nine-city air quality analysis by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has revealed.

The pollution measuring indicator — air quality index (AQI) — was twice as much than last year in Mumbai. The city recorded 206 (poor) a day before Diwali (October 18), 196 (moderate) on Diwali and 219 (poor) the following day. Last year, the city recorded 109, 115, and 110 — moderate levels of pollution — on the three days of the festival.

After Mumbai, Nagpur and Dombivli were the most polluted on Diwali and the day before. Aurangabad had the second worst air with an AQI of 215 (poor) a day after Diwali. Airoli, representative of Navi Mumbai, breathed the cleanest air on all three days.

Last year, Pune had the most polluted air with AQI levels 237 (poor) a day before Diwali (October 30), 309 (very poor) on Diwali, and 286 the following day. However, this year levels were in the ‘moderate’ category during all three days (see box).

MPCB officials said pollution from firecrackers was marginally less. “The AQI at our air monitoring station at Bandra was high on the eve of Diwali because of large number of vehicular emissions perpetrated by the strike. As a result, the bursting of firecrackers in the following days, however minimal it was, raised pollution levels by a small margin,” said SC Kollur, chief scientist, MPCB. “In addition, weather factors such as changing wind direction and calm winds during the Diwali period resulted in low dispersion of pollutants.”

The MPCB monitored air quality for the 24-hour period on the four Diwali days at selected locations in Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Nashik, Nagpur, Airoli, Chandrapur, Solapur and Dombivli. “The overall air quality trend in Maharashtra is ‘moderate’, which shows less impact of firecrackers as opposed to already existing sources of air pollution such as vehicular traffic, construction dust etc,” read the report.

“Overall, we conclude that public awareness by media and citizens has led to significant reduction in using firecrackers across Maharashtra, and our cities have fared much better than other states across India,” said Kollur. “However, this is an ongoing process of monitoring air pollutants across 27 municipal corporations, and we only expect the situation to get better in the coming years.”

HT on October 22 reported that the level PM10 — small particles that can lodge into the lungs and enter the bloodstream – were five times the safe limit at 487 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m3) on October 20 (a day after Diwali) as against the permissible levels of 100µg/m3, found the National Air Quality recorded by the Index Central Pollution Control Board.

It had also released 24-hour average AQI levels for the MMR between last Thursday and Friday with Mumbai , Navi Mumabai and Thane recording 249 (poor – prominent pollutant PM10), 100 (satisfactory — PM10 prominent pollutant) and 332 (very poor — prominent pollutant ozone).

Mumbai’s air pollution dropped after Diwali, with AQI on October 21 and 22 at 98 and 79, as a result of changing weather conditions, the report said. AQI level from 0 to 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.