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Delhi Schools Closed: Fear of Smog Escalates!

Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Mr. Manesh Sisodiya has announced mandatory closure of all Delhi schools in wake of worsening air pollution in the city. This announcement comes a day after Junior Delhi Schools in the city were advised to remain shut. Delhi has been enveloped by a deadly smog and the breathing quality of air is no less than that of a Gas Chamber.

Sisodiya announced on his Twitter, “Due to the deteriorating air quality in Delhi, the health of children cannot be compromised. We have ordered the closure of all the schools in Delhi until Sunday”

Doctors in the national capital have declared a public health emergency as the air pollution has quickly escalated to 30 times the World Health Organization’s permissible level in the past couple of days. The concentration levels of PM 2.5 -which is a measure of microscopic particles in air- was recorded to be at a whopping 700 units.

Pedestrians and Bikers were seen covering their faces with masks and handkerchiefs while battling through the thick, dense, gray smog that has shadowed Delhi under its cover.

Mr. Sisodiya, while addressing the people was quoted saying, “I would request people to avoid morning walks. The situation is close to a severe crisis” He guaranteed that “The situation will be reviewed on an hourly basis if necessary.”

The Delhi Government has put out health advisories for the children and elderly and urged all to refrain from outdoor activities. Indian Medical Association has already declared a public health emergency and is urging the authorities to tackle this issue at the earnest.

Emergency measures such as -increasing the parking fees fourfold and -promoting the use of Metro by reducing the fares have been recommended by a Supreme Court appointed Panel with a hope to curb this problem.

It has been observed in previous years that ahead of the onset of winter, Delhi’s air quality typically worsens as cooler air traps pollutants near the ground, preventing them from dispersing into the atmosphere, a phenomenon known as ‘Inversion’. High levels of moisture in the air and a lack of wind lead to emissions being trapped in the environment, says the Central Pollution Control Board.

Although a ban on firecrackers was previously imposed in anticipation of this pollution, many managed to find its way out. The smoke from the firecrackers, in addition to emissions from diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and industries have generated a toxic mix of pollutants worsening Delhi’s air quality by the day. Despite an official ban, the post harvest season is a witness to the farmers burning crop residues in the neighboring states. This just adds fuel to the fire and adds a sizeable contribution to the air pollution.

Residents of Delhi can only hope to be better equipped to combat this worsening problem in the coming years. Meanwhile, children are thrilled to receive an unexpected holiday!

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