Mumbai on Friday recorded its second worst Air Quality Index (AQI) since 2016 – the year System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) began monitoring air pollution levels in the city.
On the first day of 2021, the city witnessed hazy and cloudy skies throughout the day. The AQI – pollution measuring indicator – was 307 on Friday, which falls in the “very poor” category. Last year, the AQI recorded on January 1 was 175, which falls in the “moderate category”. At 323, the worst AQI was recorded on January 1, 2016.
SAFAR categorises AQI levels from 0 to 50 as good, 51 to 100 satisfactory, 101 to 200 moderate, 201 to 300 poor, 301 to 400 very poor and above 401 as severe.
SAFAR said that the high pollution levels were as a result of the wind conditions. “The AQI in Mumbai will continue to remain in the ‘very poor’ category due to inflow of continental air with low ventilation and hence, (there will be) slow dispersion of accumulated pollution, mainly from biomass burning areas of the city, due to favourable wind direction,” it added.
Among the 10 locations monitored by SAFAR, five recorded “very poor” AQI – Malad (355), Mazagaon (347), Bandra-Kurla Complex (358), Chembur (316) and Navi Mumbai (343).
According to a study by SAFAR, owing to the lockdown in 2020, Mumbai had recorded a 76 per cent decline in the Nitrogen Dioxide level concentration, while PM 2.5 was down by 54 per cent as opposed to the same period in 2019. Between March and September, AQI levels were below 50 last year.
According to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, the city recorded the worst air quality across Maharashtra in October 2020.
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