PM2.5 levels — tiny pollutant particles of 2.5-micron size — were below permissible limits across all the 11 real-time ambient air quality monitoring stations in Mumbai, stated the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) annual report of April 2019-March 20, released last month. PM2.5 is a prominent pollutant in the city. PM2.5 are the result of fuel combustion, mainly from car engines, coal/natural gas-fired power plants, wood burning and fireplaces.
Of the 84 Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (AAQMS), 15 recorded average Respirable suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) or PM 10 concentration within the standard limit (60 µg/m3) as compared to four in 2018-19. PM10 levels dropped by 26% from last year. At four stations in Mumbai, the highest RSPM levels were recorded at Kurla (140 µg/m3) followed by Sion (117 µg/m3), Sahar (116 µg/m3), and Mulund (103 µg/m3). The remaining seven stations recorded concentration in the range of 64-98 µg/m3. The annual safe limit for PM10 is 60 µg/m3. “RSPM poses a greater risk to human health as these particles can enter deep into the lungs through respiration and some may even enter the bloodstream. RSPM levels are a matter of great concern for Maharashtra, as it is one of the most persistent reasons for increasing air pollution,” read the report.
MPCB also analysed the air quality index (AQI) range for 2019-20 for 11 monitoring stations in the city. Good AQI was recorded for only 21 % of total observations, with most good air days at Borivli (43%) and minimum at Kurla (3.8%).