India Closes Schools and Colleges as Air Pollution Worsens

Indian authorities in the capital, Delhi, and some neighboring states have closed all schools and colleges starting from Wednesday amid the worsening levels of air pollution.

According to BBC News, construction work is also banned until 21 November but an exception has been made for transport and defense-related projects. Only five out of 11 coal-based power plants in the city are allowed to operate.

Since the festival of Diwali, a toxic haze has enveloped Delhi. PM2.5 is a category that refers to tiny particles which can clog people’s lungs. The levels of PM2.5 in New Delhi’s air were seven times higher than the World Health Organization’s (WHO) safety standards. In several states, the levels have reached up to 400 on Tuesday, which WHO categorizes as severe.

The Delhi government decided to close schools and colleges in an effort to improve the air quality. However, some experts said that such a move would have a limited desired impact and would only disrupt the economy and the livelihoods of the people amid the pandemic. The culmination of vehicular, industrial emissions, weather patterns, and, dust make Delhi the world’s most polluted capital. 

Every year as winter approaches, India has to face chronic winter smog. The morning sky looks ominous grey. People suffer from stuffy noses and itchy eyes. Consequently, hospitals start to fill up with people having respiratory problems. 

The hazardous air pollution has caught the Indian Supreme Court’s attention who then orders the state and federal governments into court, asking them what “immediate and emergency” measures they intend to take to clean up the air. 

As air pollution is a real problem, it follows that real actions from the government and private sectors are needed to solve the problem. 

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