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Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019

Delhi, Ghaziabad and Noida schools shut for 2 days over spike in pollution levels

The overall air quality index (AQI) in Delhi and NCR region today entered the ‘severe’ category again with not much improvement expected for the next two days.

delhi Updated: Nov 13, 2019 21:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi, Ghaziabad and Noida schools ordered to be shut for 2 days over high pollution levels
Delhi, Ghaziabad and Noida schools ordered to be shut for 2 days over high pollution levels(Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
         

Schools in Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad were ordered shut for two days after Supreme Court-mandated anti-pollution authority EPCA on Wednesday said they should be closed as pollution in the city hovered close to ‘emergency’ levels.

“In view of the deteriorating pollution levels in north India, the Delhi government has decided to shut all schools for the next two days (Thursday and Friday),” tweeted Delhi Education minister Manish Sisodia.

In its order, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) ordered industries using coal and other such fuels and hot mix plants to remain shut till Friday, November 15.

“Hot mix plants, stone crushers to be closed till the morning of November 15 in all NCR districts. All coal and other fuel-based industries, which have not shifted to natural gas or agro-residue (with exception to power-plants) to remain closed in Faridabad, Gurugram, Noida, Greater Noida, Sonepat, Panipat and Bahadurgarh and Bhiwadi till November 15. In Delhi industries, which have not yet shifted to PNG to remain closed till November 15,” the EPCA said in a statement on Wednesday.

“In addition, keeping in mind the hazardous exposure to children, CPCB Taskforce gas recommended, which EPCA is directing, that all schools must remain shut for the next two days,” the statement added.

All government and private schools in Gautam Budh Nagar district will also remain closed on November 14 and 15 due to rising pollution levels.

The overall air quality index (AQI) in Delhi and NCR region today entered the ‘severe’ category again with not much improvement expected for the next two days. According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the overall air quality of the national capital docked at 472 as of 7:30 pm.

Concentrations of PM2.5, the city’s most prominent pollutant, exceeded the 500ug/m3 mark at Vikas Sadan, which is the highest measure reflected by the city’s official air quality monitor. The average concentration of the past 24 hours, at 6pm, was 445ug/m3, more than seven times the national safe limit of 60ug/m3. Private monitors across the city also recorded emergency levels of particulate matter.

A senior scientist at the CPCB’s air quality lab in Delhi said, “What we are seeing now is an exponential accumulation of pollutants, which will continue until wind speed picks up. This is not expected until November 15. Farm fires have also been detected across Punjab and Haryana, which are contributing between 18 to 25% of pollutants in Delhi-NCR.”