In view of the increasing air pollution levels in the national capital, the Delhi government has extended the closure of all schools up to class 5 till November 10. Schools up to classes 6-12 are not required to close, but they have the option to run online classes if they wish.
Initially, the Delhi government had announced that schools up to class 5 would remain closed till November 5, however, the deteriorating air quality in the city has warranted an extension.
“As pollution levels continue to remain high, primary schools in Delhi will stay closed till 10th November. For Grade 6-12, schools are being given the option of shifting to online classes,” Delhi Education Minister Atishi said in a statement.
As pollution levels continue to remain high, primary schools in Delhi will stay closed till 10th November.
For Grade 6-12, schools are being given the option of shifting to online classes.
— Atishi (@AtishiAAP) November 5, 2023
Delhi’s air remained severely polluted for a sixth consecutive day on Sunday morning with an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 460.
A suffocating blanket of toxic smog continued to cloak Delhi today, prompting doctors to raise concerns about the growing number of respiratory and eye ailments among children and the elderly.
Microscopic PM2.5 particles, which can lodge deep in the lungs and cause health problems, soared to seven to eight times the government’s safe limit of 60 micrograms per cubic metre in multiple locations across Delhi-NCR in the last few days. This was 80 to 100 times higher than the WHO’s safe limit of 5 micrograms per cubic metre.
Under the Centre’s plan to combat pollution in Delhi-NCR, it is mandatory to implement all urgent air pollution control measures, including a ban on polluting trucks, commercial four-wheelers, and all construction activities, if the AQI exceeds 450.
Delhi-NCR’s air quality plummeted over the past week due to falling temperatures, stagnant winds that stifled pollution dispersion, and a surge in post-harvest paddy stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana.
Delhi’s AQI skyrocketed by more than 200 points between October 27 and November 3, plummeting into the “severe plus” category (above 450) on Friday, according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data. A slight improvement was seen from 468 at 4 pm on Friday to 413 at 6 am on Saturday, but the 24-hour average AQI of 468 on Friday was the worst since November 12, 2021.
Delhi’s air quality is one of the worst among capital cities globally, with a University of Chicago report finding that air pollution reduces life expectancy by almost 12 years.