4 in 5 Mumbai families have one or more members with sore throat and or cough; Rate road and construction dust and motor vehicles emissions as top causes for bad air quality
- ● 78% of Mumbai families surveyed indicated that one or more members have sore throat and/or cough
- ● 44% of families surveyed in Mumbai have one or more experiencing burning eyes
- ● 85% of Mumbai residents surveyed rate road and construction dust as the top cause of air pollution while 62% believe it is also due to motor vehicle emissions
November 4, 2023, New Delhi: As the India and Sri Lanka teams played the World Cup ODI in the city on Thursday, the PM2.5 levels were over 14 times the safe limit. Firecrackers were banned given the bad air quality in Mumbai. The Bombay High Court on October 31st took suo motu cognizance of the concerns arising from the degrading air quality and rising air pollution in Mumbai and its suburbs and sought responses from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on the steps taken by them to tackle the issue.
Air pollution in Mumbai has been at “unhealthy” levels since late September, forcing civic authorities and the health department to contemplate various safety measures like using anti-smog guns and sprinklers at construction sites to reduce dust pollution, according to Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research, Safar-India.
With the economy picking up and people’s desire to invest in property reviving, there is considerable construction activity within and around the commercial capital of India. According to Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai, Iqbal Singh Chahal, construction is on in around 6,000 sites in the city. Despite the required barricades and the requisite covering of the construction site, considerable construction dust is adding to the air pollution problem in the densely populated city.
Around 1.6 million deaths recorded in the country in 2019 were due to air pollution, according to a study published in The Lancet in December 2020 titled ‘Health and economic impact of air pollution in the states of India: the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019’.
As Mumbai residents grapple with rise in temperature to over 32 degree Celsius and “unhealthy or poor levels of air pollution" many have been writing about their experiences on LocalCircles. As a result, the platform decided to conducted a survey to understand the health challenge, find out how people are coping with the problem and what they attribute as the key causes of Mumbai pollution. The survey received nearly 7,000 responses from residents of Mumbai. 67% respondents were men while 33% respondents were women.
78% of Mumbai families surveyed indicated that they have one or more members with sore throat and/or cough while 44% have one or more experiencing burning eyes
Rise in air pollution adversely affects the health of people. The first question in the survey asked residents of Mumbai, “What are all the ailments you or members of your family in Mumbai are now experiencing due to the air pollution?” Some out of 2,539 respondents to the query indicated more than one option with the largest group of 78% indicating “sore throat and/ or cough”; 44% also indicating “burning eyes”; 39% of respondents also indicating “runny nose and/or congestion”; 28% indicating “breathing difficulty/asthma”; 22% “difficulty in sleeping”; and 17% indicating “headache”. In addition, 6% of respondents stated that the query is “not applicable” as they are not currently in Mumbai. To sum up, as air quality stays bad, 78% of Mumbai families surveyed indicated that they have one or more members with sore throat and/or cough while 44% have one or more experiencing burning eyes. The survey allowed Mumbai residents to select multiple conditions that they are experiencing.
1 in 2 Mumbaikars surveyed indicated that they are using/ likely to use anti-pollution masks to protect themselves on bad air quality days
For most residents of Mumbai traveling to work or school/ college takes considerable time, so there is no escaping air pollution. The survey asked respondents, “How are you and your family coping with the poor air quality in Mumbai?” Out of 2,017 Mumbai residents who responded to this query 25% indicated that they are “using anti-pollution mask”; 17% indicated that besides using anti-pollution mask, they have also increase consumption of immunity boosting foods; and 8% of the respondents indicated that besides using anti-pollution mask and intake of more immunity boosting foods, they are using air purifiers at home. Remaining 50% of the respondents stated that they “not doing any of the above” as a precaution. To sum up, the data shows that despite high levels of air pollution, which is regarded as unhealthy, half of Mumbai residents surveyed are not taking any steps to protect themselves. The other half rely on masks, a quarter on immunity boosting foods and only 8% are using air purifiers at home.
An aggregation of the data shows that while 1 in 2 Mumbaikars are using/ likely to use anti-pollution masks to protect themselves on bad air quality days, just 8% of those surveyed are using air purifiers at home and 25% of respondents have increased consumption of immunity boosting or health foods.
85% of Mumbai residents surveyed rate road and construction dust as the top cause of bad air quality in the city
Unlike in the northern states, air pollution due to stubble burning has not been an issue in Mumbai. The survey asked respondents, “What according to you are the key causes of air pollution in Mumbai this year?” Some among the 2483 respondents indicated more than one reason. The main reason, according to 85% of respondents is “road and construction dust”; 62% of the respondents also indicated “motor vehicle emission”; 38% also indicated “industrial and power plant emissions”; 31% also indicated “manual road sweeping”; 15% indicated “diesel generator emissions” and 38% of respondents indicated “other reasons” not mentioned above. In addition, 8% of respondents opted for “can’t say”. To sum up, 85% of Mumbai residents surveyed rate road and construction dust as the top cause of bad air quality in the city, while 62% believe it is also due to motor vehicle emissions; 38% believe it is power emission too that impacts air quality.
In summary, 78% of Mumbai families surveyed have indicated that they have one or more members with sore throat and/or cough while 44% have one or more experiencing burning eyes. The survey reveals that the majority of Mumbaikars are not depending on any safeguards like immunity boosting foods or air purifiers to combat effects of rising air pollution in the city. Just 8% of those surveyed are using air purifiers at home and 25% are consuming more immunity boosting foods while 50% are using anti-pollution face masks in addition to other steps. However, 50% of those surveyed seem to have given up the fight against air pollution and decided to live with it. As the expanding city and its suburbs have turned into a thriving construction area, it seems hard for residents to escape the impact of high air pollution. As the survey shows 85% of Mumbai residents rate road and construction dust as the top cause of bad air quality in the city, while 62% believe it is also due to motor vehicle emissions; 38% believe it is power emission too that impacts air quality. Only the state government, particularly the civic authorities, can come to the rescue of residents to ensure Mumbai air quality doesn’t deteriorate further and come anywhere close to Delhi which has been struggling with toxic air quality for a decade now.
The survey received nearly 7,000 responses from citizens located across Mumbai. 67% respondents were men while 33% respondents were women. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants were validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.