'Hazardous' pollution levels choke Delhi, schools closed till Nov 5

A woman and a child, wearing anti-pollution masks, walk along a road in New Delhi, Friday. Photo: PTI

As the air quality in Delhi-NCR dipped further and become hazardous today, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday announced that all schools in the national capital will remain closed till November 5.

"The level of pollution has increased in Delhi due to the smoke of stubble burning. Therefore, the government has decided that all the schools in Delhi will remain closed till November 5," he tweeted.

North Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD) had already announced that schools under its purview will remain closed till November 5.

Holidays have been declared by South MCD and East MCD schools till November 4 and the situation of air pollution will be reviewed on November 5.

Earlier in the day, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority declared a public health emergency stating that the air quality in Delhi NCR is now at Severe+ level and it has become "hazardous" and will have adverse health impacts on all, particularly the children.

It also prohibited construction activities in Delhi-NCR till the morning of November 5, 2019, and cracker bursting has been completely banned for the entire winter period.

On Friday, people residing in the national capital and its nearby areas such as Gurugram, Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Noida are forced to breath hazardous air as Air Quality Index (AQI) has reached 533, which falls in the severe category, according to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR).

According to SAFAR, the overall AQI of Delhi continues to be in the SEVERE category for the fourth consecutive. "The calm surface wind condition that prevails last two days over Delhi has led to strong surface nocturnal inversion and accumulation of pollutants."

Earlier during an event to distribute pollution masks, Kejriwal had urged school children to write letters to the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana urging to take requisite actions against stubble burning to curb the menace of air pollution in the national capital.

He blamed that the smoke emanating from crop residue burning in the two states causes pollution in Delhi.

The Delhi Chief Minister also distributed anti-pollution masks to the school children as a part of the government plan to protect the children from air pollution.

In the wake of pollution, the Delhi Chief Minister had in September announced the third season of the odd-even vehicle scheme will come into effect for 12 days starting November 4 in Delhi.

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