The bad air quality of Mumbai rose to a high of 324 AQI (Air Quality Index) in the ‘very poor’ category on Saturday. Experts blame the winter and low humidity for the pollutants remaining in the atmosphere. While the System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) has predicted the city to remain in the ‘very poor’ category for the next two days.
Mumbai witnessing bad air quality since November
The city has been experiencing bad air quality since the beginning of winter from the month of November. The main causes of air pollution continue to remain vehicular emissions and construction work.
Pollutants get trapped due to the drop in temperature, humidity levels, dry and denser air, says Gufran Beig, director of SAFAR. “Mumbai is surrounded by sea on three sides which naturally gives it a clean and breathable monsoon season due to the high speed winds. However, as winter sets in, the speed of winds decline and the cold temperature keeps the pollutants in the atmospheric level, resulting in the rise of bad air quality.”
The AQI given over a region is the average air quality including different elements in the air like PM 10 and PM 2.5 (both inhalable particles); carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and ground-level ozone.
An AQI between 0-100 is good, 101-200 is considered 'moderate', 201-300 (poor), 301-400 (very poor), and 401-500 (severe).
Health experts advise wearing masks due to air quality
As the city currently falls in the ‘very poor’ category, health experts have advised citizens to wear a mask while heading outdoors, moreover patients with respiratory illnesses must take more precautions.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, the minimum temperature recorded by the Santacruz observatory was 15.2 °C and Colaba was 17.4 °C, along with a maximum temperature of 26.2°C and 28 °C respectively. The India Metrological Department (IMD) has forecasted an average minimum temperature between 15 °C to 13 °C for the next two days, with the possibility of the temperature going as low as 12 °C on Monday.
The lowest temperature in the city so far this winter has been 15° C, recorded on Dec 25.
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