Navi Mumbaikars seemed relieved due to less bursting of firecrackers this Diwali, but poor air quality reveals the true picture of the city’s pollution rate. Environmentalists blame, both less rain and lower wind flow as the cause of the level of city’s pollution.
Navi Mumbai has been ranked third on the scale of most polluted place in the mega city from October 21 to 23 followed by Malad and Andheri, as per the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).
According to activist Mangesh Ranawade, “it wasn’t raining, like it was till two weeks ago, and so the pollution increased. The direction of the wind, which was from ocean to land, is now reversed, and the flow of the wind has reduced from 10–12 kmph to 8–9 kmph. The solubility and the drift of the smoke has gone down, causing it to stay in the atmosphere for a longer period.”
While Anil Mohekar, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) regional officer added that Koparkhairane is worst affected area by air pollution. He added, “during Diwali, industrial units were shut, so there was no added pollution by them.”
Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) collects the information on its air quality monitoring stations, which gathers real-time data on the suspended particulate matter (SPM). It shows a combination of both tiny (PM 2.5) and big particulate matter (PM 10) small. MPCB has referred to this data for judging the air quality by SPM, on the scale of 200 micrograms per cubic meter.
As illustrated by Mr. Mohekar, Koparkhairane scored 259 SPM, Turbhe stood second with 209 SPM, and Airoli recorded 103 SPM during Diwali this year. “Although fewer crackers were burst, the release of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide was more. The air quality was rated as ‘very poor’ by SAFAR with air quality index at 344 after Diwali,” he said.
The MPCB released a statement saying that a spike in nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide increases the respiratory problems and decreases the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood.