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Why is Mumbai's air getting worse with each day?

For the past few months, Mumbai has been facing air pollution worse than Delhi. Data from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) shows

By nayanikaphukan
New Update
mumbai air quality

For the past few months, Mumbai has been facing air pollution worse than Delhi. Data from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) shows that since November 2022, the majority of the days witnessed ‘poor’ AQI. And, such a high number of ‘poor’ air has not been witnessed by the city for at least six years.

Mumbai’s air quality fluctuated between poor and very poor in December 2022, with an AQI of 200-400. It sank even lower on some days than in Delhi. Delhi is a city that has struggled with high pollution levels in the winter for years. According to the Systems of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) India, the AQI for 3rd February is ‘very poor’ with PM10 and PM2.5 levels of 196 and 125 respectively. The PM levels are expected to increase more in the next three days.

Read more: Air pollution in city this winter significantly worse than last season | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times



Anjal Prakash, Research director of ISB said that the city’s worsening air quality due to the prevailing global meteorological conditions called the El Niño southern oscillation, with an abnormal warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean that disrupts global atmospheric circulation and in turn influences temperatures and precipitation, reports The Weather Channel.

Read more: Mumbai to Endure More Polluted Winter Days in Coming Years | Weather.com

As per the SAFAR study, Mumbai’s fresh air is affected 30% by the transport sector, 20% by biofuels or residential emissions, 18% by industries, 15% by windblown dust, and 17% by other weather factors including sea salt.

Vimlendu Jha, an environmentalist writes on Twitter that, 'it's not a coincidence that the ‘richest’ city' is as polluted as the most powerful city of India i.e. Delhi.'

Mumbai had a natural air-purifying system which is its coastlines and mangroves. And, they have been destroyed owing to urbanization, and projects such as the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train.

The bullet train project led to the destruction of almost 20,000 mangrove trees. He further adds that Mumbai has more than 3 million private vehicles and thousands of industrial units that contribute to the overall pollution.


With more and more cities joining the list of the most polluted cities, it is time for not only the government but also the citizens to reflect on the choices we make in our everyday life. We need to question if we really need development and modernization if it comes with the cost of our well-being and health.

This is much more important if you're living in the metro cities. A citizen-initiated grassroots movement to make climate change a priority in decision-making, and policymakers to help a long way.

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