After over a week of breathing polluted air, Mumbai could breathe easy on Friday as air quality improved substantially. The haze cleared as the Air Quality Index (AQI) recorded 175 from Thursday’s 263. The city has been experiencing poor air quality since February 2. On February 7 the AQI touched 275, the worst this year and the worst since Diwali last year.
According to data provided by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the PM2.5 and PM10 levels on Wednesday were “satisfactory” at 60 and 95, respectively. The forecast says air quality is likely to deteriorate again on Saturday.
Of the 10 observatories in the city, Bhandup and BKC recorded “very poor” air quality with PM2.5 levels at 327. Borivali, Mazagaon and Navi Mumbai recorded “poor” air quality with PM2.5 levels at 225, 203 and 260, Only Colaba and Worli observatories recorded “moderate” levels.
“There was a lot of moisture in the air, which increases its holding capacity for pollutants. Now that the sun has come out and the wind speed has increased, the moisture has dried up bringing the air quality to its usual level,” Dr Gufran Beig, Project Director, SAFAR, said.
According to Beig, the pollution levels are not likely to increase for a while, at least till a cold spell is felt in the city. Temperatures in the city remained normal with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) Santacruz observatory recording a maximum temperature of 30.9 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 16.7 degrees Celsius, one degree above normal.