Hazy conditions continued for the second consecutive day as pollution levels saw a sharp spike in some areas across Mumbai on Sunday. Pollutant-measuring indicator – air quality index (AQI) – was recorded at 100 (satisfactory) for PM2.5 pollutant, as a thin layer of smog was witnessed across the city skyline. This is the worst air quality witnessed by the city since March 21 when the first phase of the Covid-19 lockdown was declared, System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) stated.
Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) recorded the worst air quality in the city with ‘very poor’ AQI of 304 on Sunday. Air quality worsened across all other nine locations as well. Navi Mumbai recorded an AQI of 156 (moderate) followed by Borivli (139) and Malad (135).
Other areas recorded ‘satisfactory’ AQI levels. SAFAR categorises AQI levels for PM2.5 in the 0-50 range as ‘good’; 51-100 as ‘satisfactory’; 101-200 as ‘moderate’; 201-300 as ‘poor’; 301-400 as ‘very poor’ and above 400 as ‘severe’. An AQI of 97 (satisfactory) has been predicted for Monday.
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“Though there is a sharp decline in rain activity and very calm winds, moisture availability in Mumbai’s air is high. This has increased the pollutant carrying capacity and the pollutant layer is suspended close to the surface,” said Gufran Beig, project director, SAFAR.
“Moderate pollution levels are expected to continue until wind speed picks up or rain activity resumes. We will have to check location-specific sources for why BKC was so polluted on Sunday,” Beig said.
Meanwhile, the weather bureau issued a yellow alert on Sunday afternoon for the possibility of thundershowers during late evening or overnight till early Monday morning. However, between 8.30 am and 5.30 pm, no rain was recorded in south Mumbai and 0.2 mm was recorded in the suburbs.
Thane recorded 15 mm of rainfall. Mumbai suburbs and south Mumbai have recorded 26 and 27 mm rain in the first six days of September.
“On Sunday, the city witnessed dull weather with haze obscuring sunlight leading to poor visibility, however, it was not fog. The possibility of thunderstorms over isolated areas in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region on Sunday night for brief periods cannot be ruled out. Radar images show similar echoes for parts of north and south-central Maharashtra,” said KS Hosalikar, deputy director-general, western region, India Meteorological Department.