Mumbai sinks under smog, again

Air quality remains moderate to very poor in various parts of the city

Updated - March 02, 2016 05:38 am IST

Published - March 02, 2016 12:00 am IST

The Bandra-Worli sea link remained engulfed in thick smog on Tuesday.— Photos: Vijay Bate

The Bandra-Worli sea link remained engulfed in thick smog on Tuesday.— Photos: Vijay Bate

ir quality in many parts of Mumbai once again hit the ‘very poor’ mark. The cloud of smog had lifted from the city only recently after the fire at the Deonar dumping ground was brought under control. But for nearly a week now, Mumbai has been experiencing foggy weather conditions, raising concerns about its air quality and health impact.

On Tuesday, the air quality in Mumbai remained largely in the ‘moderate’ and ‘very poor’ categories except in the far western and eastern suburbs of Borivali and Chembur, where the air quality was relatively better.

Experts said the poor visibility was less due to the high level of pollution in the air and had more to do with the big difference in the day and night temperatures accompanied by humidity and moisture in the air.

On Tuesday, the air quality index (AQI) for Mumbai was at 140.6 for PM2.5 (particulate matter up to 2.5 micrometres), remaining ‘very poor’. The AQI for the bigger particles PM10 was 193.6, remaining in the ‘moderate’ category.

“There is high humidity and lots of moisture in the air in Mumbai. The differences in day and night temperatures combined with high humidity have created foggy conditions as particles get attached to water molecules. These particles or aerosols are bigger than PM2.5 and PM10, which are naturally filtered by our system as our bodies reject and do not get into our system through inhalation. The low visibility is not the result of pollution but rather the humidity and temperature,” Gufran Beig, Scientist and Project Director at System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), Pune, told The Hindu .

Citizens complained that the air quality was impacting their health.

BKC and Navi Mumbai areas ranked lowest in terms of air quality on Tuesday. Some road commuters reported poor visibility on the Bandra-Worli sea link in the morning as well.

Though the air quality in Chembur has improved compared to the days of the dumping ground fire, people continued to report difficulty in breathing.

“The number of people who are visiting doctors with breathing problems and asthma attacks has increased over the last few days. The air quality is degrading,” said Sandip Rane from Chembur.

Dr Rane has been fighting to shut down the Deonar dumping ground for the last many years. “Last month’s fire at the dumping ground was nothing new. The entire area is covered with smoke that spreads in the direction of the wind,” he said.

The poor air quality’s impact on health is not limited to one area. Mira Road resident Sadiq Basha, a computer engineer, suffers from asthma. “From the last one week, I have been using the inhaler twice a day to tackle my breathing problem. Initially, I blamed it on my reckless routine. But never before have I used the inhaler more than once,” he said, blaming it on the rise in pollution levels.

Kalpesh Sawant, a student of chartered accountancy from Bhandup, said the entire stretch between Mulund and Bhandup was covered with a thick layer of smog in the morning and evening.

Dadar residents living in high rises have a quick indicator to smog levels in the city. “The Bandra-Worli sea link is clearly visible from high rises. But from the last few days, there is a thick smog cover and we can’t see the mammoth structure. The air quality is poor even in Shivaji Park, particularly in the mornings,” said Shalaka Acharya, a resident of Dadar.

Meanwhile, at Deonar, the fear of more incidents of fire breaking out at the dumping ground has gripped the locality. Ehsan Ahmed Sheikh, a resident of Rafique Nagar, said there would be more episodes of fire in the summer months. “A thick layer of smog is a daily scene. There may not be visible side effects of the pollution, but we must tackle the issue at the earliest,” said Mohan Karnik, a resident of Dattaguru CHS in Deonar.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.