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No lessons learnt: Poor quality of air on first day of new year in Mumbai
Vinamrata BorwankarJan 2, 2016, 01.10 AM IST
Mumbai: The city started its new year on a bad note with the recorded pollution levels in the poor category on the very first day.
According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), Mumbai recorded an air quality index (AQI) of 300 on Friday, down from
Thursday's 305. The day after Diwali in 2015 had recorded an AQI of 313.
Despite the high temperatures during the day, the AQI has remained in the poor category for the past few days.
The AQI uses 24-hour averages of pollutants, including sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, ozone and particulate matter. "In the 24-hour average AQI that we calculate we are getting higher pollutant concentrations during the night when temperatures drop as the pollutants get trapped closer to the surface. Due to this, the AQI has been similar to the days of Diwali when the emissions are much higher," said Neha Parkhi, senior programme officer of SAFAR.
There has also been a change in AQI patterns at various suburbs in the past few days. While Bandra-Kurla Complex and Colaba would record AQIs in the good to moderate category, on Friday, it was 356 and 308 respectively. "This could be due to a change in the activity on the ground or a slight change in wind pattern. For instance, if burning wood has increased in the area owing to the cold, it could result in rise of pollutants," said Parkhi.
Mumbai may not be able to fight the pollution using Delhi's odd-even number plate route as vehicular pollution accounts for less than 6% of particulate matter (PM10) in the city, according to the Air Quality Assessment, Emissions Inventory & Source Apportionment Studies for Mumbai carried out by the Central Pollution Control Board and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute. Paved and unpaved road dust—together at 29%—is the largest source of particulate matter.
Environmentalists feel bursting firecrackers to bring in the new year adding to the pollution levels when the city is already having such bad weather quality and other sources of pollution. "This shows that there is no sincerity in tackling the problem. In fact, politicians are themselves conducting firecracker displays. There are many other ways to usher in the new year," said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.