As pollution in Delhi continues to be severe, the Delhi government has ordered for schools to remain shut this entire week. All government, private and municipal schools will remain closed till November 12. The decision was announced today by Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. In a twitter post, Sisodia said that the schools will remain closed November 12 since the air quality in Delhi has reached unsafe levels. He said that the health of children is more important than anything else. Yesterday, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that Delhi has become a gas chamber. Kejriwal has written to the chief ministers of Punjab and Haryana, asking them to take measures to stop crop burning in areas near to Delhi. The burning of agricultural waste has been recognized as one of the most significant contributors to the pollution in Delhi.
The decision to shut down schools came after the Air Quality Index (AQI) reached 448, which is in the ‘severe’ category. At this level, the pollutants can cause various types of respiratory problems, both short term and long term. Experts said that Delhi needs a comprehensive solution to pollution since reactionary approaches only have limited benefits. The problem of extreme pollution surfaces every year at the onset of and all throughout the winter season. In view of the increasing pollution in Delhi, the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority may implement the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).