Delhi’s air quality worsens; schools closed

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Deputy CM of Delhi Manish Sisodia on Wednesday declared all schools, including government and private ones, closed till Sunday in lieu of the alarming levels of “smog” in the capital, which is bound to adversely affect Delhi’s population, which is a whopping 17 million people.

In a series of tweets expressing his concern on the pollution rate in the capital which is now 10 times higher than Beijing, Sisodia promised to review the situation, “on an hourly basis if needed”. Until Sunday, wherein the situation would be reviewed again before pronouncing any order, all schools in Delhi, whether government or private, would remain closed for all classes from primary to secondary.

The Indian Medical Association declared a public health emergency, as the fog mixed with smoke settled low in the capital, and issued guidelines for the public, which urged the citizens, especially children to remain indoors as much as possible, to wear pollution masks, etc.

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Earlier, the Delhi government had issued notices to all Delhi schools for closing class for primary batches, and to suspend all outdoor activities for the secondary classes. However, in view of the deteriorating air quality, CM Manish Sisodia has ordered to close schools for all classes until Sunday this week, wherein the situation would be reviewed again, and any statement is issued.

In a tweet, the minister said, “due to the deteriorating air quality, the health of the children could not be compromised. So we are closing all schools till Sunday.”

People are advised not to go out for morning walks, and stay indoors to avoid the worsened air of Delhi.

The Delhi government, in a move to discourage the use of personal vehicles in the capital, has doubled up on parking fees and simultaneously reduced metro fares.

It is typical of the Indian capital, which is at the heart of the country, to show increased pollution ahead of approaching winter due to vehicular or industrial smoke, as well as that from the burning crops in Haryana and Punjab, but this year it has broken all records. The IMA has declared Public health Emergency across the city, as the air quality index reached 448 on a scale of 500 on Tuesday, which is marked “severe”, and smog settled at lower grounds. The index further mounted to 484 on Wednesday.

As one travels across the city, he would be able to see several people wearing pollution masks, or covering their faces with handkerchiefs to avoid inhaling the toxic air. Furthermore, several trains and flights were delayed, or even canceled pertaining to zero visibility due to fog.

Schools are expected to reopen on Monday until any further notice.