Mumbai Local

Mumbai’s air quality worse than Delhi on Tuesday

Magnesium chloride being spread to control the fire at the Deonar garbage dumping ground, on Tuesday— Photo: Special Arrangement  

A day after the fire at Deonar was doused, Mumbai’s air quality was surprisingly worse than even that of Delhi’s on Tuesday. However, the air quality index in Chembur, which has been reeling from the impact of the dumping ground fires, improved a few notches.

By 7 pm on Tuesday, the PM2.5 (fine particulate matter) in Mumbai was at 127.5, still firmly in the ‘very poor’ category. The PM10 levels were at a moderate level of 182.3. In Delhi though, the PM2.5 level was 95.6, pushing the Capital up to the ‘poor’ category from the previous ‘very poor’ levels. The PM10 level for Delhi was at a moderate 160, according to the data by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research, Pune.

“The air quality in Mumbai and Delhi is going in two extreme directions. While Mumbai’s air quality has worsened due to the fires, Delhi’s air quality has surprisingly improved due to a rise in temperature and the blowing of high winds,” Dr Gufran Beig, scientist and project director at SAFAR told The Hindu .

The air quality index in Chembur improved marginally from 369 on Monday to 359 on Tuesday evening. “The air quality will be normalised in Chembur by Friday. It will be poor, and in other parts of the city it will be moderate,” Mr Beig said.

However, locals did not feel any significant change in air quality. “I can still see the smoke from my window,” said resident Priya Fonseca. “Early on Tuesday, the air looked clear, but within two hours it was back to being hazy.” Another resident, Megha Bajaj came all the way to Marine Drive on Tuesday “just to breathe”. “They keep saying they have put off the fire, but why is there so much smoke?” she said.

The severe smog conditions over the past six days have brought together citizens from Chembur, Deonar, Govandi and Ghatkopar. Wearing black and surgical masks, they are set to stage a protest march against toxic gases from the dumping ground on Wednesday morning.

The citizens held a meeting on Monday to deliberate on the long-pending issue and plan a strategy. “So far, there is no clear agenda, but different citizen’s groups have become active on this issue,” Ms Fonseca said. “There is a social media campaign and people are taking this up at various levels and platforms. Some are following up with the courts and the administration. The meeting was to realise that we are all together. We are serious about the issue and need to do something about it.”

Ms Bajaj, who is the coordinator for tomorrow’s march, told The Hindu : “This is the first time citizens have come together. This is not yesterday’s problem. We have been raising this for a very long time, but there was no solution. The BMC only passes the buck. Everyone is sick and tired.”

Even as the residents complained and planned protests, the BMC continued to sprinkle magnesium chloride on the dumping ground to prevent the fire from reigniting.

While the fire died down, the politics over the fire was still simmering on Tuesday. Devendra Amberkar of the Congress and leader of opposition in BMC, led a delegation to meet Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta. The delegation demanded that he take action against those responsible for the Deonar dumping ground fire.

Shaikh Mohammed Siraj, corporator from Govandi, also met Mr Mehta and demanded that the Deonar dumping ground be closed. He said he would go on a hunger strike if necessary action was not taken.

(With inputs from Swapnasaurabha Kulshreshtha)

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 6:48:16 PM |

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