New Delhi, November 13: Schools in Delhi-NCR will be closed for the next two days - November 14 and 15 - as air quality continued to dip in the national capital and adjoining cities. The two-day holiday has been declared after the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority on Wednesday recommended closure of all schools in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) for the next two days. It also called for the closure of industries using coal and other such fuels till November 15. Pollution in North India: Supreme Court Tells Centre to Explore Hydrogen Based Fuel Technology to Reduce Air Pollution.
A toxic haze of poor quality air covered the Delhi-NCR on Wednesday with the air quality index (AQI) dipping in the 'severe' category. Around 12 noon, Delhi's overall AQI stood at 454. Jahangirpuri and Rohini were the most-polluted areas with an AQI of 483, followed by Mundka (479) and Bawana (479). In the NCR, Faridabad (436), Ghaziabad (468), Greater Noida (459), Gurgaon (450) and Noida (469) also choked on extremely polluted air. Uttar Pradesh Pollution: Haze Blankets Parts of State, Air Quality in Noida, Ghaziabad, Greater Noida Plunges to ‘Severe’ Category.
Holiday Declared in Delhi-NCR Schools:
Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority has issued recommendations for Delhi NCR, Schools should remain closed for next 2 days and industries using coal and other such fuels, hot mix plants etc should remain closed till 15th. #AirQuality pic.twitter.com/vs7RBwhEYO
— ANI (@ANI) November 13, 2019
An AQI between 201 and 300 is considered 'poor', 301-400 'very poor' and 401-500 'severe'. An AQI above 500 falls in the 'severe plus' category. A large number of children were exposed to the harmful smog as schools remained open on Wednesday. Pictures of schoolchildren with their faces covered with anti-pollution masks and handkerchiefs were shared widely on social media.
In a bid to curb air pollution, the Delhi government has introduced the odd-even scheme for vehicles from November 4-15. The odd-even is a road rationing system in which vehicles with registration number ending with even digits - 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 are allowed to run on even dates, and those ending with odd numbers - 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 will ply on odd dates.
Last week, the apex court had pulled up the Centre and state governments for their inability to curb stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana and bring air pollution in Delhi under control. It had asked the governments if they feel ashamed that people are no longer safe even in their houses.
The period between October 15 and November 15 is considered critical for the region as a maximum number of stubble burning incidents take place in this span in Punjab and adjoining states. Stubble burning is one of the main reasons for the alarming spike in pollution in Delhi-NCR. (With PTI inputs)