Delhi's 'dangerous' air a 'crime against humanity', prompts calls to shut schools
On Thursday, nearly all monitoring stations in the Indian capital saw the air quality index (AQI) break the "severe" and "dangerous" classifications, prompting calls for the closure of schools. Data from the Central Pollution Control Board show that the AQI was above 450 in numerous locations early in the day. According to the federal authorities, reading over 400 has an influence on healthy persons and has catastrophic consequences for people who already have diseases.
According to data from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, the index exceeded 800 in some areas of the city.
In Delhi, Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) Stage 4 has been put into effect. All relevant agencies in the NCR region will immediately put into action the order that has been made public. The GRAP's Stages 1, 2, and 3 will all still be in force for all activities.
"What is happening with air pollution in Delhi is nothing short of a crime against humanity!" author and socialite Suhel Seth wrote on Twitter. "There's a total collapse of accountability!"
Every winter, the smog that covers the capital of the most polluted country in the world is caused by the burning of crop stubble in neighbouring states to clear the fields for sowing the next one, which traps dust from construction, vehicle emissions, and other sources in the cold, dense air.
Sometimes, the air quality is made worse by lower temperatures, calmer breezes, and their occasionally shifting directions.
Social media users including parents and environmentalists asked that schools be shuttered.
"I know children don’t vote for you, but still, requesting all the chief ministers of Delhi (capital region) to immediately SHUTDOWN all the schools," environmental activist Vimlendu Jha wrote on Twitter. "It's not NORMAL to breathe 500+ AQI, not for our children, where every third child already has some pulmonary challenge."
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is also the leader of the party ruling Punjab, where crop stubble burning is rampant, said on Twitter that people in both Punjab and Delhi are fighting pollution "at their level."
To prevent dust pollution, the capital this week halted the majority of construction and demolition projects. Additionally, it urged citizens to carpool instead of driving alone, work from home whenever possible, and use less coal and firewood at home.