Delhi AQI severe at 426, NCPCR suggests closing of schools
Smog shrouded Delhi as the air quality in the national capital region plummeted to 'severe' — the worst bracket on the scale on Thursday. Delhi's Air Quality Index (AQI) stood at 426 owing to farm fires in neighboring states and vehicular emissions exacerbated by unfavorable meteorological conditions. Some schools have suspended physical classes in line with the national child rights body's recommendation.
Why does this story matter?
- Delhi is among the world's most polluted cities, presenting a major health risk for its nearly 30 million residents.
- Both city and central governments have been repeatedly pulled up by the Supreme Court to implement anti-pollution measures.
- Notably, Delhi's air quality turns hazardous every winter due to industrial and vehicular pollution, stubble burning, and bursting of firecrackers, among other reasons.
Some schools closed, others expected to follow
While Delhi residents are bound to breathe toxic air, a leading private school, The Shri Ram School has closed its branches in the national capital and neighboring Haryana until this week. The school will conduct online classes on Friday and on-campus classes will resume on Monday amid mandatory N95 masks for both students and staff. More schools are expected to follow suit.
Smog reduced visibility across the city and adjoining areas
This is how air pollution looks like in Delhi right now. 😔— Licypriya Kangujam (@LicypriyaK) November 3, 2022
While our leaders are busy in elections in Gujarat, people are dying here in Delhi. 😢
Less than 1% of the population in Delhi concerns about it. 99% thinks that this is new normal to live with pollution. pic.twitter.com/wfRk0ly4Sm
Stubble burning contributed 38% to PM2.5
Smoke from stubble burning constituted 38% of particulate matter of size 2.5 micron (PM2.5), as per the data from the Ministry of Earth Science. PM2.5 damages the lungs the most and this figure is highest in the last two years during the corresponding period.
Pollution levels are low in the afternoon
Avoid going out as much as possible. Go out during afternoons when pollution level is low.Use masks if going out. Maintain healthy diet with vegetablesfruits containing antioxidants. Do regular indoor exercises to keep lungs healthy: Dr Nikhil Modi, Pulmonologist,Apollo Hospital pic.twitter.com/HRg5hNEuQ2— ANI (@ANI) November 3, 2022
NCPCR takes suo moto cognizance
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) chairperson Priyank Kanoongo wrote to Delhi's Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar on Wednesday "strongly recommending" closing schools until the air quality improves. He asked for an action taken report on the matter within 24 hours and a detailed report in three days. The letter was based on his suo moto cognizance of the air quality.
Not all parents in favor of shutting schools
Some parents said that temporarily shutting schools was not enough and long-term measures needed to be taken. Some were against closing schools as they said children's studies had suffered a great deal during the COVID-19 lockdown. As per experts, the air quality in Delhi is at its worst between November 1 and 15 as this duration witnesses the most stubble burning.