‘Mumbai air getting more smog-filled than Delhi’

India’s financial capital, Mumbai, has been wit­nessing “very poor” air quality in recent days.

Its capital, Delhi, usually makes headlines for having dangerous levels of air pollution during the winter months.

But Mumbai, which has a vast coastline and is considered to have better air quality, overtook Delhi pollution levels several times this week.

Mumbai has joined a growing list of Indian cities that have bad air. Experts say rapid construc­tion, adverse weather conditions and increasing pollution from vehicle emissions are some of the factors responsible for the deteriorating air quality.

The level of PM 2.5 – fine particulate matter that can clog lungs and cause a host of diseas­es – was 308 in the city on Friday morning at 8.30am (local time), compared to Delhi’s reading of 259, according to government data.

Levels between 200 and 300 are considered poor, and any reading between 300 and 400 are categorised as very poor. Many Indian cities, including Delhi, Kolkata, Kanpur and Patna, often report PM 2.5 levels well above the safe limit.

A figure between zero and

50 is considered “good”, and between 51 and 100 is “satisfac­tory”, according to the air quality index or AQI.

Meanwhile, local hospitals in Mumbai have reported an increase in the number of people coming in with breathing diffi­culties and other ailments related with poor air quality.

Doctors have advised people to wear masks and avoid going out when not necessary. Mum­bai’s civic officials say they are taking urgent steps to improve the air quality.

Bad air quality in Indian cities is causing serious health issues for people. A Lancet study reported that pollution led to more than 2.3 million premature deaths in India in 2019.

Air quality in India’s capital, Delhi, has plunged to hazardous levels as politicians blame each other.

Members of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which governs Del­hi, say the federal government has rejected its solutions.

But the federal environ­ment minister – who is from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – has blamed the AAP for turning “Delhi into a gas chamber”. Delhi is one of the world’s most polluted cities through the year. -BBC

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