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Air pollution likely to increase on New Year’s Eve
Vinamrata Borwankar| Dec 30, 2015, 01.00 AM IST
MUMBAI: The city may not ring in the New Year on a very good note as the air you breathe in the next few days is expected to be heavily polluted. According to a forecast by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), Mumbai's air quality index (AQI) in the next few days is expected to be in the 'poor' range.
In a report released on Tuesday evening, SAFAR has predicted that AQI on December 30 will be 265, which is considered poor. A poor AQI means that people with heart of lung diseases, older adults, and children should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion and outdoor activity. According to SAFAR's real-time update, the AQI is expected to be in the very poor range on Wednesday in the suburbs of Malad (315), Bandra Kurla Complex (307) and Andheri (325).
The AQI will further worsen to 279 on December 31 and get better only by two points on January 1. "The air pollution levels in the city may be between poor and very poor levels on December 31 and January 1. This can be attributed to the low temperatures and high moisture levels. The lights winds will also cause the pollutant particles to be suspended very close to the surface," said Gufran Beig, project director, SAFAR and scientist, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune.
Experts attributed the poor air quality to the high concentration levels of Suspended Particulate Matter - PM 2.5 and PM 10. "In the next three days the lead pollutants will be PM2.5. The forecast is based on expected weather and background emissions. The weather condition is likely to be favorable to enhance the PM level for the next three days," said Neha Parkhi, senior programme officer, SAFAR. The predicted PM 2.5 levels are between 108 and 114 microgrammes per cubic metre (g/m3) much higher than the permissible limit of 60 g/m3.
SAFAR calculates the AQI at various locations in the city jointly with IITM, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting and local corporations.
Environmentalists have said that the use of fire crackers on New Year's Eve is expected to add to the city's pollution. "During winters the winds are already slow and fire crackers add heavily to the pollution as pollutants remain in the air for longer. It is high time that the government contemplated banning crackers in a city where pollution levels are such a cause for concern," said Sumaira Abdulali, activist and convener of the Awaaz Foundation.
Awaaz Foundation has campaigned against air, water and heavy metal pollution which affects the health of people and environments.