Amid Diwali celebrations, the air quality of Mumbai dipped to 'moderate’ on Sunday morning. Although the BMC had claimed that Mumbaikars refrained from bursting crackers this year, the AQI numbers show a different outcome.
According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecast and Research (SAFAR), the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) in Mumbai on Sunday was 122 for PM 10 pollutants and 61 for PM 2.5 pollutants.
PM10 pollutants are particulate matters in air up to ten micrometres in size. These particles consist of smoke, dirt and dust from factories and can cause severe health problems, mostly in the upper respiratory tract. On the other hand, PM 2.5 pollutants are smaller particles, less than 2.5 micrometres in size. These pollutants include toxic organic compounds and heavy metals.
An AQI quality between 101-250 for PM10 pollutants and 61-90 for PM2.5 pollutants is marked as moderately polluted which may cause breathing discomfort to the elderly and children.
SAFAR also predicted that the air quality could worsen in the next three days and AQI of PM 10 pollutants could reach the 148-mark by early next week.
"The day after Diwali, the AQI of Mumbai was in Moderate category owing to cleaner faster and oceanic winds and very less contribution of any additional firecrackers emission" stated SAFAR in a statement.
"An AQI over 100 can cause severe problems to asthmatic patients and senior citizens; also to COVID patients who are in home quarantine may also experience difficulty in breathing if air quality in their neighbourhood has worsened", Dr Diwakar Juneja, a city based air quality and environment researcher, told the FPJ.
SAFAR further highlighted that the AQI of Pune was very poor. The AQI quality for PM10 was 205 and for PM 2.5, it was 125 on Sunday.
In Mumbai, areas Chembur and Bandra Kurla Complex reported the worse air quality. According to the data on 'IQ Air' the AQI of Chembur was 178 on Sunday, followed by BKC (AQI 155) and Kurla (AQI 144.)
The air quality in Bandra was 68 and at Mumbai International Airport, it was a decent 78.
However, weather experts said it was unlikely that pollutants will remain in the air for more than three days.
"The pollution level will recede and air quality in Mumbai may improve in the next three days, as presently warm south easterly winds are blowing across Mumbai due to which the temperature will remain warm for the next few days" said Mahesh Palawat, vice president, Skymet.
He further told FPJ that in the next three days, the temperature in Mumbai would be around 22-23 degrees Celsius.
Speaking on citizen's response to BMC's call for a cracker ban in Mumbai, senior Congress corporator and BMC leader of opposition stated,
"Nearly eighty per cent of the people refrained from bursting crackers. It is not the job of the administration alone to enforce discipline, but citizens too have a moral responsibility" Raja told FPJ.