New Delhi government orders the closure of schools due to high levels of pollution

The chief of staff of New Delhi on Saturday ordered the closure of schools for a week in the wake of dangerously high levels of air pollution in the Indian capital.

“Starting Monday, schools will be closed because children don’t have to breathe polluted air,” Arvind Kejriwal told reporters.

On Saturday, the levels of fine suspended particles PM2.5 – the most dangerous, with a diameter less than 2.5 microns – exceeded 300 micrograms per cubic meter, more than ten times higher than the daily limit recommended by the World Organization of the Health.

Kejriwal also announced a halt to all construction works for four days starting Sunday. In addition, he asked government officials to work from home. Private companies in turn advised teleworking as much as possible.

New Delhi I had already experienced these measures in 2019.

The massive incineration of agricultural waste in the surroundings – a practice that is prohibited by the courts – and the bad weather conditions explain this pollution peak, which translates every boreal winter into a dense cloud that covers the capital of 20 million inhabitants.

The city “must be fully prepared to take urgent measures,” an order from the Central Pollution Control Commission, which reports to the Indian federal government, said on Friday.

In addition, the agency asked residents to “limit their outdoor activities to minimize their exposure.”

“Weak winds will make the meteorological conditions very unfavorable for the dispersion of pollutants until November 18,” the commission warned.

According to a report published in 2020 by the Swiss organization IQAir, 22 of the 30 most polluted cities in the world are in India and New Delhi is the most polluted capital on the planet.

In 2019, pollution caused 1.67 million deaths in India, including about 17,500 deaths in the capital, according to the medical journal The Lancet.


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