Delhi: As Air Quality Worsens Schools to be Shut till Sunday

Lancet Report Air Pollution India

As Delhiites woke up to a deadly smog enveloping the city second day in a row, a public health emergency has been declared. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has announced the closure of all Delhi schools till Sunday. It was the city becoming a “gas chamber” that compelled the authorities to take this drastic step.

“Due to the deteriorating air quality in Delhi, the health of children cannot be compromised. We have ordered the closure of all the schools in Delhi until Sunday,” tweeted Manish Sisodia.

“The air pollution has become unbearable affecting all. It has engulfed the city. The reasons for this may be varied from stubble burning in Haryana and Punjab to vehicular/ construction pollution but the fact remains that it is affecting the health of Delhi’s citizens,” an official order from Sisodia’s office said today.

Besides shutting down schools for a week, The Delhi government has put out health advisories for children and elderly asking them to shun outdoor activities.

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The Supreme Court Panel has recommended emergency measures like four times the parking fees to discourage the use of cars and reduced metro fares. The smog brought down visibility levels, affecting flight and train operations. The heavy air permeated living rooms and even underground Metro stations.

Tests by Greenpeace have shown these fine pollutants – called PM2.5 – can include carcinogenic chemicals such as lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury. Levels of PM2.5 in Delhi on Tuesday reached 710 micrograms per cubic metre, more than 11 times the World Health Organisation’s safe limit, The Guardian reported.

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Delhi observed a similar situation last year before the onset of winters too. A thick blanket of smog had engulfed the city forcing people to stay indoors.

A lot of people took to Twitter to express their angst over the capital’s miserable condition.