Air quality of Delhi and Mumbai will be "very poor" in the next few days, particularly on Tuesday and Wednesday, due to a dust storm which originated in the Gulf region last week.
According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), a body under the Ministry of Earth Science, "This is mainly due to the remnants of a major dust storm which was experienced in the Gulf region early last week has now crossed the Arabian Sea."
"The storm has elevated the levels of PM10 and PM2.5 in Mumbai significantly today (April 5) as per the data obtained by new SAFAR station at Colaba area. Although the direction of storm is towards Mumbai, Nasik and part of North Maharashtra, its remnants are likely to elevate level of PM2.5 particles from moderate to poor /very poor category by Tuesday and Wednesday," according to the SAFAR forecast.
"An increase of 30-40 per cent is likely in the level of PM2.5 particles where as PM10 particles may go up by 20-30 per cent being heavier and settle down faster," said Gufran Beig, Project Director, SAFAR at ESSO-IITM Pune, Ministry of Earth Sciences.
He said the PM2.5 was just 70 microgram/m3 (mgpmc) (moderate) on April 2 which is 144 mgpmc today (Poor) and will go up by 210 mgpmc (Very Poor) by Tuesday (April 7).
PM2.5 is considered to be very dangerous as it affects lungs and enters the blood stream. The normal level of PM2.5 should be 60.
This has disturbed the air quality in Delhi, which was categorised as "good" by SAFAR last week.
"The dust storm has disturbed the wind patterns. And some parcels rich in pollution are likely to drift towards northern parts of India including Delhi. But Mumbai will be the most affected," Beig added.