Delhi pollution: 4 Haryana districts shut schools, impose other curbs
Four Haryana districts bordering Delhi imposed fresh curbs on Sunday in light of the worsened air quality in the national capital. The four districts include Faridabad, Gurugram, Jhajjar, and Sonepat. The districts have also imposed other curbs such as a work from home model for offices, a ban on construction and trash burning, etc., to keep pollution in check.
Why does it matter?
- With the onset of every winter, the air quality in parts of North India worsens owing to multiple factors.
- The air quality worsened with the excess use of firecrackers for Diwali and was further exacerbated by stubble burning in agricultural states in the region.
- The situation remains particularly bad in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) due to its landlocked location, vehicular emissions, industrial pollution, etc.
What does the order say?
All government and private schools in the four Haryana districts will be shut till Wednesday, stated the order, which takes effect immediately. The order also banned manual sweeping, construction activities, stubble burning, and burning of trash by municipal bodies. It directed the Haryana State Disaster Management Authority (HSDMA) to start sprinkling water to control dust on roads.
WFH for offices; less vehicles on roads
Government offices have been directed to switch to work from home, while private offices have been advised to work from home as much as possible. The HSDMA has been asked to cut the number of vehicles on roads by 30%. Vehicles older than 10-15 years shall be checked for emissions and impounded accordingly. Deputy Commissioners have been directed to establish teams to ensure compliance.
Delhi passed similar orders yesterday
A day before, Delhi had passed an order shutting all schools from Monday for a week. The order also listed other measures such as the suspension of construction activities and work from home for government offices.
How bad is the pollution in NCR?
The air quality in Delhi-NCR has worsened over November. Gurugram recorded an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 471 ("severe") on Friday, the worst this season. Notably, Noida and Gurugram recorded an AQI reading of 587 and 557 on Saturday, respectively; worse than Delhi. The situation is expected to improve in the next few days as the winds become favorable.
SC's nudge to Centre, Delhi
On Saturday, the Supreme Court had expressed concern over the prevailing situation in Delhi. The apex court had directed the central and city governments to come up with an action plan detailing long-term efforts to keep air quality in check.