Mumbai: City sees drop in pollution levels as Mumbaikars follow social distancing, work from home amid coronavirus outbreak
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The statewide lockdown enforced by the outbreak of coronavirus has brought the satellite city to a standstill. But there is good news for citizens, as air quality has improved, going from 'very poor' to 'satisfactory'.

Well, the lockdown, which has forced the closure of industrial units and halt in work at all ongoing construction sites, including the Navi Mumbai International Airport and the Belapur-Uran highway widening, has now led to better air quality in the city.

The data available with the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) reveals that on March 23, the PM2.5 concentration in Navi Mumbai air was 83, which is 'satisfactory'.

Moreover, the air quality index (AQI) for PM2.5 pollutants – was 59 (Satisfactory) on Wednesday morning.

Just a month ago, on the same date, the AQI for Navi Mumbai was 327. In February, in fact, according to the World Air Quality Report 2019, Navi Mumbai was the most toxic city in the state and the 51st in the most polluted city in the world.

Bhagwan Keshbhat, founder of Waatavaran Foundation, says there is an improvement in the air quality due to the closure of industrial units in Taloja MIDC, Mhape and the halt in ongoing construction work. “Navi Mumbai air is polluted by multiple sources. Twenty-five per cent of the pollution in the city is because of the ongoing construction and the quarry,” said Keshbhat.

He added that due to change in wind patterns, parts of the city like Uran, Ulwe, and Nerul receive pollution from Mumbai. For the last couple of months, the air quality of Navi Mumbai had been consistently poor or rather very poor.

Even on Republic Day, a national holiday, the AQI of the city was 373, poorer than Mumbai. In January 2020, there were seven days when the AQI was poor and eight days when it was very poor. Similarly, on February 20, 2020, the AQI was severe, at 404. During the month, there were 24 days when the AQI was very poor.

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