Schools re-open in Delhi days as toxic haze subsides

Schools re-open in Delhi days as toxic haze subsides
Students have returned to school in India's capital as the toxic haze started to subside in the world's most polluted city.
2 min read
06 November, 2019
Fourteen out of the world's fifteen most polluted cities are in India [Getty]
School’s in India’s capital reopened on Wednesday after being closed for two days due to severe air pollution that has choked northern India, Reuters reported.

The spike in pollution triggered a health emergency in Delhi and prompted protests by residents and environmental groups.

The children, many of whom were wearing face masks, returned to schools even as the pollution level remained at “unhealthy” in most part of the region, including New Delhi.

Also read: Residents choke on poisonous smog as Delhi grapples with worst pollution crisis

The air quality fell to its lowest point of the year on Sunday with monitoring equipment reaching maximum readings of 999 particles micrograms of particulates per cubic meter of air. The World Health Organization’s recommended safe daily limit is 25.

The overall air quality showed some improvement across the city, thank to stronger winds blowing away some of the pollutants hanging in the atmosphere.

The Delhi government has restricted the number of cars in the capital, by allowing them onto the roads on alternate days depending on whether their number plates end in an odd or an even number.

Leaders and politicians have bickered over the crisis, with the national right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi blaming Delhi local Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), calling Delhi chief minister Kejriwal’s odd-even car rule a 'stunt'.

More than 1,500 people gathered at India Gate, a prominent landmark in the centre of New Delhi, to protest the continuous high levels of pollution and demanded action from the central and state governments.

“People are angry because it’s a collective failure and politicians need to come together to chalk out a comprehensive plan to address this crisis,” said Vimlendu Jha to Reuters, an environmentalist who founded the activist group Swechha.

The air quality index measured by the US Embassy in the capital was at “unhealthy” levels of 177 on Wednesday, down from 331 on Tuesday morning. Anything about 401 is classified as “severe”.

New Delhi is the most polluted capital city in the world, and fourteen out of in the top fifteen most polluted cities are in India.

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