Delhi Air Pollution: Health Emergency Declared In National Capital, Schools Shut Till Nov 5
Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, (EPCA) on November 1 declared a ‘Public health emergency’ in Delhi as air pollution level in the region entered the ‘severe plus’ category. The overall air quality index stood at a shocking 484.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, took to Twitter to announce schools in Delhi will be shut till November 5 (Tuesday) to prevent children from getting exposed to the toxic smog that has shrouded the national capital.
“We have to take this as a public health emergency as air pollution will have adverse health impact on all, particularly our children.” EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal wrote in a letter to the chief secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.
Lal advised to not step out in the open till the pollution level drops and said special care to be taken of the children, aged, and vulnerable population.
The EPCA has also banned construction activities, hot mix plants and stone crushers in Delhi, Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaizabad, Noida, and Greater Noida till November 5 morning.
Describing the city as a “gas chamber” Kejriwal blamed the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab, where thousands of farmers at this time of year burn crop, sending vast clouds of smoke drifting across northern India. He even distributed masks to children in schools.
However, Prakash Javadekar, Union Environment Minister, criticised Kejriwal for playing the blame game and instead advised to think about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposal to curb pollutant produced by industries in five states near Delhi.
“We are in a severe situation because there are no winds,” Prashant Gargava, a top official at the CPCB told Reuters. The CPCB index measures the concentration of tiny poisonous particulate matter that can be carried deep into the lungs, causing deadly diseases including cancer and cardiac problems.
Amidst other measures,”odd-even” scheme will come into play from next week, thereby restricting the use of private vehicles on the capital’s roads.