Mumbai’s Air Quality Worsened in 2020

How was Mumbai’s 2020 air quality? Did Mumbai’s air quality improve in 2020 compared to recent years? Air pollution in 2019 averaged levels nearly 4 times the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended limit for PM2.5 levels. Smart Air dove into the data to see if there was any improvement in 2020.

Results: Mumbai’s Air Quality Worsened by 2%

After analyzing Mumbai’s air quality data from the US Embassy, Smart Air found that air pollution did not improve in 2020 compared to 2019. In fact, air pollution levels increased by over 2%. With an annual PM2.5 level of 44 micrograms, the citizens of Mumbai are still breathing an average of over 4 times the WHO annual limit.

Mumbai's 2020 air quality

Mumbai’s PM2.5 levels started 2020 at lower levels than 2019. Breaking down the data by month, air quality in 2020 tracked 2019 closely. However, the winter months from October to December have seen slightly worse air quality in 2020.

Mumbai's air pollution 2020 vs 2019

The Effect of COVID-19 Lockdown On Mumbai’s 2020 Air Quality

Mumbai saw an improvement in air quality during the COVID-19 lockdown. There are two months that saw PM2.5 levels dropping below WHO recommended limits: the months of July and August.

But thereafter, Mumbai’s pollution levels started peaking in the winter. PM2.5 levels in India typically begin to rise starting in October, and remain high until March of the next year.

Mumbai's seasonal pollution trend

Mumbai’s Air Quality Levels Compared to Other Cities in India

Mumbai’s air quality is now far worse than Hyderabad and Chennai after this year’s worsening in PM2.5 levels.  The marginal increase this year means Mumbai is now third in terms of worst air pollution among all of India’s major cities. Delhi — by far the most polluted city in India — still has pollution levels two times higher than Mumbai.

Indian Cities Air Quality 2020

The analysis of Mumbai’s air quality is based on PM2.5 air pollution, particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter. These particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and even enter the bloodstream. Studies have found that PM2.5 raises blood pressure, inflammation, and rates of heart attacks and strokes.

PM2.5 size

The US Embassy data is open for researchers, although it is limited. It comes from only one pollution sensor in the city, and pollution can vary between neighborhoods.

Open Data

As always, Smart Air is publishing the test data for all fellow data nerds (Mumbai 2020 Pollution Data).

How I Protect Myself

Despite the harms of PM2.5, studies have found that wearing masks prevents physiological harm to the body. Also using air purifiers in your home have been shown to have positive effects on blood pressure, inflammation, and immune response.

Smart Air is a certified B Corp committed to combating the myths big companies use to inflate the price of clean air.

Smart Air provides empirically backed, no-nonsense purifiers and masks, that remove the same particles as the big companies for a fraction of the cost. Only corporations benefit when clean air is a luxury.

Check out the Sqair!

Sqair Air Purifier

Get Your Free Guide to Breathing Safe

Join the thousand keeping up on the latest research & knowledge on how to breathe safe. Sign up now and receive a free guide to breathing safe!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Smart Air is a social enterprise that creates simple, no-nonsense air purifiers and provides free education to protect people’s health from the effects of air pollution. We are proud to be the only certified B-Corp dedicated to fighting air pollution.