The city continued to reel under heavy smog for the fourth day in a row with the Air Quality Index (AQI) remaining in the ‘very poor’ category.
The AQI as calculated by System of Air-quality-weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) on Sunday evening was pegged at 333. After the Deonar dumping ground fire, the AQI on Sunday was at par with Delhi. On Sunday, of the 10 suburbs where the AQI is measured by SAFAR, only two — Worli and Colaba — were in the moderate category and recorded AQI of 156 and 193 respectively while Chembur’s AQI showed heavy pollutants at 362 and Navi Mumbai at 344.
Experts said that the smoke generated by the fire were not dispersed due to low movement of the wind till Sunday.
“The situation has improved marginally and the smog is going down as the wind has picked up leading to dispersion,” said Rakesh Kumar, scientist and head, Mumbai Zonal Centre, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI). He, however, cautioned that the burning of garbage in many parts of the city for various purposes is a big source of pollution.The fire in the dumping ground also prompted many environmentalists, experts to seek alternate ways of waste management.
Debartha Banerjee, founder of Sampurnearth Environment Solutions, said that the load on the dumping ground can be reduced if de-centralised waste management can be done at the source. “At an individual level, to begin with, dry and wet waste needs to be segregated. The wet biodegradable waste can be composed through pits, biogas plants and mechanised composting. The dry waste too can be recycled by giving it to the local scrap dealer or through authorised pick-up services functioning in the city,” Banerjee said. He adds the rest non-biodegradable waste can be sent to the dumping ground, which would reduce at least 80 per cent of waste reaching the dumping grounds at present.