Mumbai: The city had a bad air day on Wednesday, brought on by excessive humidity and an increase in minimum temperature. According to the System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the air quality index was 260, falling under the ‘poor’ category. Officials and weather experts said it was the worst-ever air quality recorded since AQI 254 in March.
“With the onset of winter, air quality has begun to deteriorate. As winter sets in, particulate matter concentration in the air will rise, as lower temperatures cause pollutants to get trapped closer to the earth’s surface, leading to an increase in pollution levels,” said an official.
SAFAR officials said, apart from the cloudy weather in the city for the past two days, there were other factors causing AQI levels to rise. “Air quality deteriorated on Wednesday due to the high humidity level, which was above 85 per cent at both Colaba and Santacruz on Wednesday. The high moisture level over the Arabian Sea caused the cloud cover while southeasterly winds have been bringing dust and moisture to the city,” said Gufran Beig, project director, SAFAR.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the minimum temperature recorded at both Colaba and Santacruz observatories was 24 degrees Celsius, three degrees above normal. However, the maximum temperature hovered around 30.5 degrees Celsius at both observatories, two degrees below normal.
On Wednesday, areas with the most polluted air in the city were the Bandra-Kurla Complex (AQI 319), followed by Malad (AQI 318), Andheri (AQI 310), Worli (AQI 309) and Mazgaon (AQI 307). All these places recorded ‘very poor’ air quality.