Mumbai: Witnesses thick layer of toxic air

Mumbai: A thick haze has been hanging over the city for the past few days, as the weatherman recorded the air quality in Mumbai as ‘very poor’ on Monday, which will continue to remain so until Friday. The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) was 207 on Monday, which is classified as ‘Poor’ by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.

Dr Gufran Beig, Project Director, SAFAR, said due to the westerly disturbances the­re is a lot of moisture in the air, which has led to the co­nstant deterioration of the air quality since Sunday. “The excess moisture has led to a smog-like condition, lea­d­­ing to poor visibility in several areas. However, the air qu­a­lity will remain very poor until Friday,” added Dr Beig. The pollution levels in Mumbai soared earlier in the day with air quality plummeting to the poor category by recording 271 as the air quality index.

A met department official said the haze is a result of the moisture acting on the dry northerly winds as well as pollution. “The high levels of particulate matter (PM) in the air and a combination of the dry winds are resulting into hazy conditions,” said the IMD official.

Several areas on Monday were in the ‘Very Poor’ category with high levels of PM 2.5. The areas are Borivali (342), Malad (247), Andheri (332), Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) (331) and Navi-Mumbai (326). All the places recorded ‘very poor’ air quality. However, the safe limit as per the Central Pollution Control Board for PM2.5 is 60 µg/m3 for 24 hours.

Dr Sunita Bage, an ENT specialist from Sir Jamshetji Jeejeebhoy (JJ) Hospital sa­id, on average 15 to 20 pati­e­nts visit the hospital regularly as compared to other days. “We have been getting more patients related to allergy rhinitis which causes itching, sneezing. Most patients are between the age group of 20 to 40 years. Due to the air pollution, besides allergy rhinitis, patients come with other complaints like running nose, blockage of nose, headache,” added Dr Bage.

She added, “Patients suffering from asthma, respiratory problems, have to face health issues due to a weather cha­n­ge and poor air pollution. Asthmatic patients must stay away from dust and not go for morning or evening walks. Due to poor air quality, their health can worsen.”

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