Gurugram schools alarmed, decide to remain closed

preventing exposure:The Heritage School and The Shri Ram School have decided to wait for the situation to improve.Photo: V. Sudershan  

: In the wake of the alarming increase in the pollution levels in the National Capital Region (NCR) after Diwali, two prominent schools in the Millennium City have decided to remain closed and wait for the situation to improve, while several others have issued advisories for the children to use masks and suspended outdoor activities.

According to figures from the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB), the level of PM 2.5 air pollution had increased to 646.2 micrograms per cubic metre on Wednesday evening, up from 108.95 micrograms per cubic metre a day ago.

Schools inform parents

To prevent exposure to the extremely high levels of PM 2.5, The Heritage School and The Shri Ram School decided to stay closed and sent emails to parents on Thursday. “As facts stand today [on Thursday], the outdoor PM 2.5 count in the school is 1,000 and the indoor quality is between 700 to 900…Cities like Beijing shut down when these levels cross 300. Effectively, that means we are 3 times over the hazardous limit. In a study converting air pollution to smoking, a score of 22 on PM 2.5 converts to smoking one cigarette, so we are effectively smoking 40 cigarettes per day,” read a mail from The Heritage School announcing its decision to remain closed on November 4.

Similarly, The Shri Ram School, which had issued an advisory for the parents to buy masks for the kids on Wednesday, decided to remain closed till November 7. “On account of high pollution levels, the school will remain closed on November 4 and 7,” said a message from The Shri Ram School.

Sunita Nagpal, Principal, Delhi Public School (Sushant Lok), said: “Delhi-NCR is among the most polluted regions in the world. Smog and high levels of particulate matter are among the biggest challenges facing residents. The teachers discussed the issue of air pollution with students. As a result, many of our students did not burst crackers this Diwali, doing their bit to improve air quality. Because of the smog, we have moved all our PT (physical training) classes indoors and are not allowing any sporting activity in the open for the next few days.”

Govt. schools stay open

Additional Chief Secretary, Haryana Education Department, P.K. Das, however, denied plans to order closure of government schools in the city.

“Even in school, the students are indoors, so there is no need to shut down schools,” Mr. Das told The Hindu over phone.

Thursday better

Meanwhile, pollution levels went down considerably on Thursday on account of sunshine and slight improvement in wind speed. “We recorded the PM 2.5 level at 123 micrograms per cubic metre on Thursday evening, which is an improvement from yesterday [Wednesday]. The situation is likely to improve in the next few days,” said Vijay Choudhary, an HSPCB official.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 10:29:44 PM |

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