According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), particulate matter (PM) in the air in Mumbai is set to increase this Diwali, making the air more polluted as compared to last year. The air quality index (AQI) is expected to be as high as 334, falling under the ‘very poor’ category a day after Diwali this year, SAFAR said. AQI data reveals that on Friday night, the AQI recorded was 197 and worsened by Saturday evening with an AQI of 253.
They further revealed that Mumbai’s air quality was better than Navi Mumbai and Delhi that had recorded 309 and 394 respectively on Saturday.
Last year’s records of air quality test revealed that at 313 the air quality during Diwali “was worse than previous year (2014) due to higher humidity” which allowed the pollutants to remain suspended in the atmosphere much longer.
Last Diwali, November 11, 2015, air pollution was the highest in Andheri and Mazgaon, both reporting levels beyond 200 µg/m³, worst so far. According to the standards set by SAFAR, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, levels below 100 µg/m³ are considered good, above 400 µg/m³ are considered ‘severe’ for air quality conditions. The air quality in the city is currently recorded as ‘poor’ with levels of air pollutants ranging between 200 to 250 µg/m³.
SAFAR, run by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology with the support of Indian Meteorological Department, predicts the quality of air. The ratings are colour-coded. For instance, the green colour indicates good air quality but is expected to be in red indicating ‘very poor’ quality.