While Mumbai continued to breathe poor quality air, it was a slight improvement from Wednesday when the city’s air quality was at its worst since Diwali last year. The Air Quality Index (AQI) improved to 263 on Thursday from Wednesday’s 273. Mumbai has been experiencing hazy skies and poor air quality since last Friday. According to data provided by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the PM2.5 level on Thursday was “poor” at 111 and “moderate” with PM10 levels at 183. While the forecast is of a further decline in AQI on Friday, the level of particulate matter in the air is likely to increase.
Of the 10 observatories in the city, Borivali, Bhandup, BKC, Mazagaon, Colaba and Navi Mumbai recorded “very poor” air quality with PM2.5 levels at 314, 327, 327, 338, 323 and 316, respectively. Malad and Andheri recorded “poor” air quality with PM2.5 levels at 230. Only Chembur and Worli observatories recorded “moderate” levels. “The moisture that had entered due to the westerly disturbances is drying out and wind speed is slow, so holding capacity of the air is declining due to which the AQI has improved,” said Dr Gufran Beig, Project Director, SAFAR. According to Dr Beig, the pollution levels are likely to improve from Friday evening.
City doctors said there has been an increase in the number of people seeking medical help. “People who are prone to get infections like patients who are on steroids, young children and the elderly have a higher risk with airborne diseases and they would be affected by the change in weather,” said Dr Om Srivastav, infectious diseases consultant, Dr Jaslok Hospital.
“People who have not had problems because of the haze and dust earlier have also complained of respiratory problems this time with many suffering from breathing problems, asthmatic bronchitis and chest infections,” said Dr Anil Ballani, consultant physician at Hinduja Hospital and Lilavati Hospital. He advised people to avoid going for morning or evening walks before sunrise and after sunset and if necessary, wear a mask.
Megha Prabhu, a Chembur resident, said: “With the increase in pollution, I am getting a lot of wheezing trouble and I just cannot step out in
Adithya David, a resident of Girgaum, said: “Generally, I like to go for a jog along Marine Drive in the morning. But with the air so polluted, I am not being able to run too far and I end up coughing after a short distance.”