Published: Thu, November 07, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Air pollution causes Delhi schools to shut

Air pollution causes Delhi schools to shut

As Air Quality Index (AQI) readings for the national capital stood at their worst in nearly three years, justices fumed.

Why is the smog especially bad now?

"Can you permit people to die like this due to pollution?".

"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, an environmentalist who founded the activist group Swechha.

In a bid to curb stubble burning to control the pollution, the Ludhiana District Administration has arrested 22 farmers and registered 45 FIRs.

The smog has led to schools being closed across the city.

Exempt from the restrictions were Delhi's seven million motorbikes and scooters, public transport and cars carrying only women, stoking criticism that the measures were ineffective.

The air quality in Kolkata turned "very poor" on Wednesday night with the pollution levels in the city breaching the 300 mark for the first time in recent months, a WBPCB official said. "The precipitation will cover Delhi-NCR, Uttarakhand, Punjab Haryana, Rajasthan and western Uttar Pradesh", said Kuldeep Srivastava, the head of IMD's regional weather forecasting centre.

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"I have a headache every day I wake up. And eyes also. Like it kind of burns", local Ankusha Kushi told AFP. The burning of crop residues have helped turn India's capital into the most polluted major city in the world.

On Monday morning, the particulate level in New Delhi's atmosphere was 613 micrograms per cubic meter of air, Al Jazeera reported.

The Attorney General also said that since two lakh farmers were involved in stubble burning, it will be practically hard to control it.

But national environment minister Prakash Javadekar accused Kejriwal of politicising the issue, while an MP from the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dismissed the odd-even vehicle rule as a "stunt" and said he planned to ignore it.

While residents of north-central India suffer from hazardous levels of smog, the government appears more concerned with the state of the Taj Mahal, as evidenced by its quick deployment of an air purifier van at the historic building this week.

Raynes, who is a maternal and child health expert at the university and researching the impact of household air pollution in India, said, "Pregnant women and children are also extremely vulnerable to the poor air quality in Delhi". Stubble burning is not the solution.

But it can causes big problems for air pollution.

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