New Delhi: To check the impact of Air Pollution in Mumbai, a pair of artificial lungs was put up in Mumbai’s Bandra. Within a weeks’ time, the artificial lungs installed started to turn black, highlighting the adverse effects of pollution in the city. On Tuesday, the air quality index (AQI) in Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai’s commercial hub, crossed 340, putting the city’s air pollution levels in the very poor category.
According to the CPCB guidelines, an Air Quality Index between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.
As per the System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research or SAFAR, the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) recorded its worst air quality this season with the AQI crossing over 300 (very poor). Apart from Bandra-Kurla complex, Navi Mumbai recorded an AQI of 324 and Malad was at 305. While at Borivli the AQI was at 179 and at Colaba, it was at 153, which is considered as ‘moderate’ air quality. All other areas in the city recorded ‘poor’ air quality.
In the month of December, Mumbai’s air quality index crossed 200 (very unhealthy category) seven times. The air quality index crossed 200 twenty-three times in Bandra Kurla Complex and crossed 300 eight times in the same area. The air quality index in North Mumbai’s Malad on January 21 was 305.
Researchers said high moisture levels along with easterly winds carrying dust resulted in an increase in air pollution in the city.
Speaking to NDTV, Bhagwan Kesbhat, the founder of an environmental organization called Waatavaran, said,
The use of private cars has added to Mumbai’s pollution problem. Professionals, businessmen, and corporates all travel in private cars. Three lakh cars come to the Bandra Kurla Complex every day. That has impacted air quality. The main cause of air pollution is vehicular emission. Second is dust from construction.
Shikha Kumar, campaign manager for an organisation committed to building grassroots citizen power across India in effective and innovative ways told NDTV,
With all the Aarey protests in Mumbai, we now know for sure it wasn’t just about the 3,000 trees but it was about the cluster of greenery which is very important for a city like Mumbai.
The air quality decreasing in the city is not the only thing to worry about, as per the Greenpeace India, the non-governmental organisation Airpocalypse-IV report, which was published on Tuesday, Mumbai has been ranked the 37th most polluted city in India, in 2018. The report analysed annual average air pollution data from 2013 to 2018 for 287 Indian cities. The report also said, the city’s air quality is eight times worse than the limit prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Apart from this, as per an assessment done by SAFAR, Mumbai recorded ‘very poor’ air quality on 6% days in 2019 as against 1% and 5% in 2018 and 2017.
Prior to Mumbai, artificial lungs were set up in Delhi, Lucknow, and Bengaluru to monitor air quality and its impact on public health. In Delhi, last year, the lungs turned completely black in six days amid the air pollution crisis. In Lucknow, it took five days, whereas in Bengaluru it took 25 days.