Schools shut today, tomorrow as air quality deteriorates in Delhi

The air quality is expected to marginally improve by Friday.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The schools in the national capital will be closed on Thursday and Friday, the Delhi government announced on Wednesday.

The city’s air quality reached the higher end of the ‘severe’ category on Wednesday, even as the Centre’s Task Force, meant to advise on implementing the Graded Response Action Plan, recommended that schools be shut and industrial activities be curbed till November 15.

Delhi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) on Wednesday was 456 (severe), up from 425 (severe) on Monday, according to the 4 p.m. bulletin by the CPCB, which is the average of the past 24 hours. Several surrounding regions — Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, and Noida also recorded ‘severe’ pollution levels.

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Earlier this week, forecast agencies had warned of an incoming Western Disturbance — a weather system from Afghanistan that usually brings rain — over Delhi and parts of North India. These would lead to overcast conditions, higher moisture levels and prevent dust and pollutants from being flushed out. A drop in windspeed and unburnt particles from rice stubble in Punjab would exacerbate pollution levels.

“The overall Delhi AQI is at the higher end of the severe category... The air quality condition is likely to marginally improve by November 15, but reasonable improvement to ‘very poor’ category is expected only November 16,” said SAFAR, a forecast agency.

“North-westerly winds and increased incidents of stubble burning (estimated to be 18% on November 11) have also contributed to deterioration... from November 14, winds are likely to be stronger resulting in better dispersion of pollutants,” said the Task Force.

Chairman of the Centre for Chest Surgery, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Dr. Arvind Kumar said: “In 1988, patients of lung cancer were mostly known smokers. In 2018, 50% lung cancer cases are non-smokers.” He warned, at a conference here, that Delhi is likely to see an explosion of lung cancer cases in the coming years.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 8:17:39 AM |

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