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Breathless in Mumbai

  • Published
    26th Oct, 2023

Context: 

Mumbai faces recurring air quality issues, attributed to anthropogenic emissions and unusual weather patterns. Mitigation measures and long-term solutions are crucial.

Mumbai's Growing Air Quality Concerns

  • Mumbai's Air Quality Crisis: Mumbai faces recurring air quality issues, with the Air Quality Index (AQI) registering as "moderate" or "poor" throughout October.
  • Pollution Sources and Meteorological Role: Anthropogenic emissions, both local and distant, are the primary cause of air pollution. Weather conditions influence the dispersion of pollutants.
  • Geographic Advantage of Mumbai: Coastal winds aid in pollutant dispersal, benefiting the city's air quality. However, post-monsoon weather patterns can lead to poor air quality.

Factors Contributing

  • Unusual Weather Patterns: Unusual weather conditions, such as La Nina and delayed monsoon withdrawal, have adversely affected Mumbai's air quality.
  • Ventilation and Transport Winds: Weak ventilation after monsoon withdrawal and moderate winds carrying pollutants contribute to the problem.
  • Construction Activities and Dust Emissions: Ongoing development projects and construction activities generate dust emissions, exacerbating pollution levels.

Mitigation Measures and Long-Term Solutions

  • Short-Term Solutions: Immediate actions like creating green barriers at construction sites and spraying water to control dust can offer temporary relief.
  • Medium-Term Solutions: Transitioning to electric vehicles, improving waste management, and managing industrial toxins are crucial for medium-term air quality improvement.
  • Long-Term Planning for Air Quality: Addressing root causes of anthropogenic emissions and mapping airsheds to identify pollution-prone areas are essential for lasting solutions.
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