Last day of 2015 was most pol­luted of the year, it may get worse to­day

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NEWS - Badri Chat­ter­jee badri.chat­ter­jee@hin­dus­tan­times.com

MUM­BAI: The air pol­lu­tion level in the city on Thurs­day was the high­est this year, trig­ger­ing health con­cerns, ac­cord­ing to the Sys­tem of Air Qual­ity and Weather Fore­cast­ing and Re­search (SAFAR). The air qual­ity in­dex (AQI), a pol­lu­tion­mea­sur­ing indi­ca­tor, which was 311 on Thurs­day, is ex­pected to rise to 315 on Fri­day.

SAFAR records AQI for par­tic­u­late mat­ter (PM2.5 and PM10), pre­dom­i­nantly part of dust, con­sid­ered dan­ger­ous as they can pen­e­trate deep into the res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem. An AQI of more than 300 falls in the very poor cat­e­gory.

The health ad­vi­sory state­ment is­sued by SAFAR, which cal­cu­lates lo­ca­tion-wise air qual­ity in­dex at 10 spots in the city, said, “Peo­ple are ad­vised to avoid out­door ac­tiv­ity, es­pe­cially chil­dren and se­nior cit­i­zens. It is ad­vis­able to use pol­lu­tion masks.”

Ex­perts at­trib­uted the sharp rise in AQI to a fall in tem­per­a­tures and calm winds. “The cur­rent AQI lev­els are alarm­ing for Mum­bai, as it is higher than Di­wali. Mum­bai’s air qual­ity has grad­u­ally de­te­ri­o­rated with the on­set of win­ter. The drop in min­i­mum tem­per­a­tures, along with calm winds, has sus­pended dust par­ti­cles very close to the earth’s sur­face,” said Gufran Beig, sci­en­tist at In­dian In­sti­tute of Trop­i­cal Me­te­o­rol­ogy (IITM), Pune and project di­rec­tor, SAFAR. Beig said a host of do­mes­tic and com­mer­cial emis­sions are to blame.

CON­TIN­UED ON P9

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