New Dehli, India, has shut down 1,800 schools for the first time ever, forcing a million students to stay at home to avoid breathing in the deadly smog that continues to shroud the city. This comes a week after firecracker residue from the Diwali festivities pushed the city’s Air Quality Index (AQI) into the red zone.
Levels of particulate matter (PM) 10 and PM2.5 hit 844 µg/m3 and 588 µg/m3 respectively on Nov. 06, according to data from the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), which monitors air quality. That’s shockingly above the safe limits of 100 µg/m3 and 60 µg/m3 respectively, and suggests that things have only worsened since last week when the “severe” pollution advisory was issued.
Alarming levels of smog have virtually turned Delhi into a “gas chamber”, mainly due to farm fires in neighboring Punjab and Haryana, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said. The chief minister has called for an emergency cabinet meeting at his residence on Sunday afternoon to discuss the issue.
Vehicle restriction measures like odd-even will not be able to bring down smog as initial studies suggest that the “large scale” influx of pollutant-laden smoke from Punjab and Haryana has aggravated the situation.
“Pollution has increased to an extent that outdoors in Delhi are resembling a gas chamber. Prima facie the biggest reason seems to be burning of stubble in agricultural fields in Haryana and Punjab in huge quantity,” Mr Kejriwal told a media conference.
SOURCES- Quartz, NDTV