The Air Quality Index (AQI) of Mumbai nearly dropped to ‘Very Poor’ category at the beginning of the last month of this year.
The AQI recorded in the System of Air Quality Forecast and Research (SAFAR) dashboard showed 293 on Sunday evening, which is regarded as ‘Poor’ and is just eight points away from the ‘Very Poor’ category. The drop comes after the city recorded a ‘Good’ AQI of 41 last week.
According to SAFAR, an AQI between 0-50 is termed ‘Good’, between 51-100 is ‘Satisfactory’, 101-200 is considered ‘Moderate’, 201-300 is ‘Poor’, reading in the range of 301-400 is ‘Very Poor’ while an AQI measurement of 400+ is labelled ‘Severe’.
On Sunday, Colaba and Mazagaon recorded an AQI of 290, followed by 283 in Malad and 280 in Chembur. BKC saw an AQI of 266 and Bhandup showed an AQI of 211. Worli and Andheri both had an AQI of 183, followed by 124 in Borivali.
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On Sunday, the minimum temperature saw a marginal increase by 2 levels at 22 degrees Celsius as measured by the IMD’s Santacruz observatory, while the maximum temperature was at 33.6 degrees Celsius.
Climate experts attributed the poor AQI to the current weather condition.
“Last week, there was a heavy breeze blowing from the sea towards the land, this cleared all the particulate matters suspended in the air. Therefore, the AQI in Mumbai showed a drastic improvement earlier this week. However now the wind speed has slowed down and there is hardly any breeze, which also led to the increase in night temperature. Therefore, the AQI has also worsened with the suspended air particulate matter lingering in the lower atmosphere for longer hours,” Gufran Beig, senior scientist and founder project director of SAFAR, told The Indian Express.
Beig also said that since Mumbai is surrounded by seawater from three sides, the daily temperature is heavily influenced by air currents blowing from the sea.
“Every year, a breeze would blow from the sea to the land, which cause cooling in the temperature. However, this year, there is no such breeze blowing from the sea. This could be attributed to the climate change that is taking place globally,” he said.
Mahesh Palawat, a meteorologist and weather expert of Skymet Weather Services, said that in the days to come the AQI may deteriorate further.
“The night and day temperature will fall further in the next few weeks with the onset of winter. This will lead to the formation of mist and haze, which will eventually affect the AQI as well,” he said.