Delhi primary schools closed till November 10 as air quality worsens; Online classes offered for seniors
The levels of microscopic PM2.5 particles, which can penetrate deep into the lungs and pose serious health risks, reached seven to eight times the safe limit prescribed by the government (60 micrograms per cubic meter) across various locations in Delhi-NCR over the past few days.
In response to the rise in air pollution levels, the Delhi government on Sunday (November 5) has taken further steps to protect the health of students. It has extended the closure of all primary schools up to class 5 until November 10. Meanwhile, schools for classes 6 to 12 have not been mandated to close but are given the flexibility to conduct online classes if they deem it necessary.
Initially, the government's decision was to keep primary schools closed until November 5, but the unrelenting deterioration of air quality has necessitated an extension.
Delhi's air quality index (AQI) remained alarmingly high, standing at 460 on Sunday morning, marking the sixth consecutive day of severe pollution. The city found itself shrouded in a noxious smog, causing growing concern among healthcare professionals about the rising incidence of respiratory and eye issues, particularly among children and the elderly.
The levels of microscopic PM2.5 particles, which can penetrate deep into the lungs and pose serious health risks, reached seven to eight times the safe limit prescribed by the government (60 micrograms per cubic meter) across various locations in Delhi-NCR over the past few days. These levels were 80 to 100 times higher than the World Health Organization's recommended limit of 5 micrograms per cubic meter.
Under the central government's pollution control plan for Delhi-NCR, it is mandatory to implement urgent air pollution control measures, including a ban on polluting trucks, commercial four-wheelers, and all construction activities, when the AQI exceeds 450.
The decline in air quality in Delhi-NCR over the past week can be attributed to the drop in temperatures, stagnant winds hindering pollution dispersion, and an increase in post-harvest burning of paddy stubble in Punjab and Haryana.
Between October 27 and November 3, Delhi's AQI surged by over 200 points, reaching the "severe plus" category (above 450) on Friday, based on data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). While there was a slight improvement from 468 at 4 pm on Friday to 413 at 6 am on Saturday, the 24-hour average AQI of 468 on Friday marked the worst levels since November 12, 2021.
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