In response to the escalating air pollution crisis, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the closure of all government and private primary schools until Saturday. The decision was made as the Air Quality Index (AQI) reached an alarming 422, marking the worst levels recorded this season.
Kejriwal stated on X (formerly known as Twitter), “In light of the rising pollution levels, all government and private primary schools in Delhi will remain closed for the next 2 days.” According to an official order by MCD, these schools will conduct classes online on November 3 and 4.
The city’s AQI plummeted to hazardous levels, prompting an immediate ban on non-essential construction work. The concentration of PM2.5, fine particulate matter harmful to the respiratory system, exceeded the safe limit by seven to eightfold in various locations. A significant portion of the pollution was attributed to stubble burning, contributing to 25% of the PM2.5 pollution in Delhi.
The central pollution control panel swiftly imposed restrictions, including a ban on non-essential construction, stone crushing, and mining activities. Additionally, restrictions were placed on the usage of certain vehicles in specific areas. These measures were implemented as part of Stage III of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), aimed at curbing air pollution during the winter season.
The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) warned of further deterioration in air quality over the next two weeks due to unfavorable meteorological conditions. Several cities in neighboring states also reported hazardous air quality, with experts predicting a challenging period ahead.
To encourage public transport usage, Delhi Metro announced 20 additional train trips across its network. Scientists have attributed the deteriorating air quality to the absence of rainfall, making October 2023 the worst month for air quality since 2020.
As Delhi grapples with the pollution crisis, swift actions and precautionary measures are being taken to safeguard the health and well-being of its residents.
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