Schools in Delhi of India are closing indefinitely as toxic fog gets worse

Delhi has closed schools until further notice, urged people to work from home and banned non-essential trucks from entering the Indian capital due to dangerous levels of air pollution.

One of the most polluted cities in the world and home to about 20 million people, Delhi is covered every winter with a dense cover of fog.

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On Saturday, the Delhi government ordered schools to be closed for a week and banned construction work for four days.

But in an order passed late on Tuesday, the Air Quality Management Commission for Delhi said all educational institutions should remain closed until further notice.

Trucks other than those carrying essential goods are prohibited from entering the capital until Nov. 21 and most construction work has been halted, the order said.

“Anti-fog cannons” and water sprayers were ordered to operate at hot spots at least three times a day.

Six of the 11 thermal power plants within a 300-kilometer radius were told to cease operations until further notice.

The commission also said at least 50 per cent of employees in government should work from home and urged those in private companies to pursue an option.

The order comes days after the Delhi government rejected an appeal by India’s Supreme Court to declare a “pollution blockade” – for the first time – that would limit the city’s population to their homes.

One of the contributors to the air pollution in winter is the smoke from farmers burning their crop residues in neighboring states.

The government, on the other hand, told the Supreme Court that industry was the largest contributor followed by vehicle pollution and dust.

This week, PM 2.5 levels – the most damaging particulate matter responsible for chronic lung and heart disease – were more than 400 in several parts of the city.

Last week, the levels touched 500, which is more than 30 times the maximum limit recommended by the World Health Organization.

A Lancet report in 2020 said nearly 17,500 people died in Delhi in 2019 due to air pollution. And a report by the Swiss organization IQAir last year found that 22 of the 30 most polluted cities in the world are in India.

Read more:

New Delhi’s air pollution situation is “very serious,” says India’s highest court

Delhi closes schools for a week due to smog

A blanket of toxic air catches Delhi two days after a festival

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