As Mumbai Reopens, Data Shows an Increase in NO2 Emissions From Vehicles

As Mumbai Reopens, Data Shows an Increase in NO2 Emissions From Vehicles

While the lockdown meant vehicular and other harmful emissions were at an all-time low, the subsequent unlocking of the economy and the easing of lockdown norms in parts of Mumbai has resulted in an increase of nitrogen dioxide or NO2 emissions in the city. 

The NO2 figures from the fourth-phase of the lockdown (May 18 to 31) were compared with the recent situation (June 1 to 14), giving an idea of how emissions have increased substantially.

The data was compiled by SAFAR (System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research) which included figures from other pollution hotspots like Ahmedabad, Delhi, and Pune. Overall, Mumbai noticed a 60 per cent increase in NO2 emissions compared to the latter part of May.

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Between March 25 and April 14, Mumbai saw a 72 per cent dip in NO2 concentrations. However, as more vehicles started plying on the streets, the dip in NO2 emissions was marginal in the subsequent weeks. Notably, the city still observed a 49 per cent dip in NO2 concentrations between May 18 to May 31 as compared to the same period in 2019.

Director of SAFAR, Gufran Beig said, - “The sudden increase in vehicular traffic combined with rising industrial production may have contributed to the sudden surge in NO2 concentration over Mumbai. Also, it shows the role played by the transport sector as a major source of air pollution in the financial capital.”

Recently, on the occasion of World Environment Day, Mumbai witnessed substantially lesser pollution as well as a decrease in noise pollution. However, the fact that most parts of the city were under lockdown may have had a part to play in this. One can only hope that the authorities adopt stricter regulations to control pollution and ultimately protect the well-being of Mumbaikars.

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