A central government team will soon visit Mumbai to assess the city’s air quality and the Maharashtra government’s efforts to improve it, sources have said. The visit follows a letter from the Centre to the state government seeking answers on the steps being taken to improve the city’s air quality.
Mumbai’s air quality has been deteriorating in recent months, with the Air Quality Index (AQI) consistently remaining in the moderate to poor category (150-200). This has raised concerns about the health of the city’s residents, as exposure to such levels of air pollution can lead to a variety of health problems, including respiratory infections, heart disease, and cancer.
Given the worsening air quality in Mumbai, the economic hub of India, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) sprung into action and sent notices to builders and contractors, including those working on the Goregaon-Mulund Link Road project, a mega project worth around Rs 6,000 crore, for violating air pollution control rules.
In Mumbai, PM2.5 levels have increased significantly since 2019, with a 54.2% jump in 2020, followed by marginal declines in 2021 and 2022, and a sharp spike of 42.1% in 2023. Microscopic PM2.5 particles can lodge deep in the lungs and cause health problems.
To address this alarming trend, the city authorities have devised a comprehensive plan that includes fitting vehicle-mounted air filters on 350 BEST buses, setting up virtual chimneys at traffic congestion spots, installing special streetlights, and placing air purification systems in select gardens.
The city has also ordered 30 sprinkler-mounted vehicles, and industries have been directed to increase the height of their chimneys.
The air pollution in Delhi, and other parts of north India, remains in severe category. For the fifth day today, the national capital reported AQI of over 400 while being shrouded in a thick, toxic haze.