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Noida: Parents want schools closed, authorities not convinced yet

District magistrate says air not in ‘severe plus’ category yet, no need to close schools

noida Updated: Dec 06, 2017 13:17 IST
Vaibhav Jha
Vaibhav Jha
Hindustan Times
noida pollution,delhi pollution,smog
The air quality index was 411 on Tuesday with the major pollutant being PM2.5.(Virendra Singh Gosain/HT Photo)

The air quality in Noida remained ‘severe’ on Tuesday as commuters were forced to inhale toxic air and residents stayed indoors.

Since early November, the air quality across Delhi-NCR has deteriorated to severe. Air quality dipped when farmers started burning paddy stubble. The cities’ vehicular, construction and dust pollution made the air toxic. The situation was worsened by low wind speed and sudden dip in temperature.

Concerned parents demanded that the administration shut down schools.

“As the air quality is dangerous in Noida, schools must be shut until the situation improves. At least, schools must stop all outdoor activities in order to save the children from the air,” Sanjay Sharma, a parent, said.

“The air quality is again bad and we request all schools to stop all outdoor activities, as due to preparations for winter carnival and Christmas celebrations, children have to go outdoors,” Gopal Rathore, a resident, said.

Some private schools in Noida have stopped outdoor activities.

“During the previous smog, we had stopped all outdoor activities. When we got a few sunny days, we resumed these activities. Most probably, we will stop all outdoor activities from Wednesday,” a spokesperson of Delhi Public School, Noida, said.

District magistrate BN Singh said the situation in Noida has not reached ‘severe plus’ level and there is no need to shut schools as of now. “The decision to shut schools is taken when the air quality index reaches the severe plus category. We will stick to graded response action plan (GRAP) guidelines,” Singh said.

Doctors have warned that though the situation is better than November, such level of toxicity in the air results in various short- and long-term health complications.

Dr Anurag Bhargav, chief medical officer, GB Nagar, has asked residents to avoid burning tyres. “I was on an inspection two days ago and I found at least eight spots where people were burning old tyres to get respite from cold. I request people to not to burn any plastic, tyre, garbage or firewood to improve the situation. Some action has to be taken by the residents and they must avoid using vehicles if possible,” he said.

According to Dr D Saha of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the severe air quality of NCR is due to collective failure of various governments.

“Smog effect has gone from Delhi-NCR and now we are seeing fog in which the density of air increases. However, it’s not a new phenomenon. Therefore, the severe air quality is due to the failure of governments to implement the guidelines issued by Supreme Court, National Green Tribunal and other bodies.”

First Published: Dec 05, 2017 23:53 IST