Citizens choke on fumes as air quality takes a beating Katraj, Alandi AQI ‘Very Poor’: SAFAR

Are you finding it difficult to breathe? Blame the poor air quality in the city, which hit alow on Thursday.

The quality of air has turned ‘orange’ on the pollution index — an indication of a serious health alert. Pollutant PM 2.5 (particulate matter) values were the highest on Thursday, as illustrated by data from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology’s (IITM) System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR). On Thursday, the city’s air quality index (AQI) touched 200, which classified as ‘poor’.

Some doctors have observed a 100% increase in the number of patients complaining of respiratory tract infections every day.

Five out of the 10 SAFARmonitored locations in the city on Thursday were choking on poor-to-very poor air quality due to PM 2.5. ‘Very poor’ AQI means a significant increase in respiratory troubles, and on Thursday, PM 2.5 (one of the worst pollutants) was recorded three or four times higher than the prescribed standard.

Gufran Beig, programme director at SAFAR, said the average 24-hour PM 2.5 values on Thursday were the highest in the last week. “The colder temperature in winter causes the boundary layer of the atmosphere to thin, This, along with calm seasonal winds, causes the pollutants to get trapped near the earth’s surface, hindering their dispersal,” he said.

Data showed that Katraj and Alandi were in the ‘red’ on Thursday, an indication of ‘very poor’ air quality, which may trigger a serious health alert. A SAFAR advisory issued for the two areas said people may experience serious health effects.

Similar levels of pollution may persist on Friday, as per a SAFAR forecast.