Schools, colleges in Delhi closed until further notice: CAQM
The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) on Tuesday said all schools and colleges in Delhi and neighboring cities should be closed until further notice. CAQM is a subcommittee of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The fresh directive comes as the national capital continues to suffer from severe air pollution and toxic smog. Here are more details on this.
Why does it matter?
- Delhi is among the most polluted major cities around the world, posing a serious health risk to its nearly two crore residents.
- In winter months, the city's air quality plunges to hazardous levels each year mainly due to the effect of stubble burning from nearby states, emissions from transport, and coal-fired power plants.
- Firecracker burning on Diwali also contributes to the pollution.
50% staff to work from home
The order implies that educational institutions will again shift to online classes. CAQM has also advised the governments of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh to allow at least 50% staff to work from home until Sunday, November 21. Private firms in the National Capital Region (NCR) will also be encouraged to allow half of their employees to work from home.
6 thermal power plants to be shut
Further, construction activities and demolition work across Delhi-NCR have been suspended until November 21. However, there will be exceptions for railway services/stations, metro operations, airports, bus terminals, and national security or defense-related activities. Notably, only five of the 11 thermal power plants in Delhi-NCR will function for the time being, according to the order.
Trucks barred from entering Delhi
The order further states that trucks will not be allowed inside Delhi except for those carrying essential items. The rule will be in force until November 21 and is subject to further review. Petrol and diesel vehicles older than 15 and 10 years, respectively, will be barred from running on roads, as per the order.
Delhi's air quality to improve after Sunday
The CAQM issued these directions after receiving advice from the India Meteorological Department (IMD). On Tuesday, Delhi's Air Quality Index (AQI) had slipped back into the "severe" category, reaching the level of 403. The weather department has now predicted that air quality in Delhi-NCR will likely remain poor and improve only after November 21.