Plagued by pollution, New Delhi closes schools until further notice

The capital of India is suffocating. A dangerous level of air pollution forced the government of New Delhi on Tuesday evening, November 16, to close its schools until further notice and invite residents to telecommute.

On Saturday, the municipality had already ordered the closure of schools for a week and prohibited all construction for four days.

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Populated by at least 20 million people, the Indian capital is the most polluted territory in the world, according to a report by theSwiss organization IQAir released in 2020, due to its factories, road traffic, and farm fires lit every winter.

Heavy goods vehicles are not allowed to enter the city until November 21, with the exception of those carrying basic necessities, and most construction sites have been halted, the quality commission also announced. air in Delhi. At least half of civil servants will be required to work from home, and private sector employees are encouraged to do the same.

Smoke from agricultural burns

Pollution fog cannons have been installed in the most polluted areas of the Indian capital.

Pollution fog cannons and sprinklers will kick in at least three times a day in the most polluted neighborhoods.

Six of the eleven thermal power stations located within a radius of 300 kilometers have also been requested to cease functioning until further notice.

The measures come 24 hours after the Delhi government decided to resist a Supreme Court appeal for “Confinement due to pollution”. This pollution comes, among other things, from smoke from agricultural burns in neighboring states. However, the government argued to the Supreme Court that industry was the main contributor to pollution, followed by transport and dust from roads and construction sites.

This week, the level of fine particles PM2.5 – the most dangerous for health – exceeded 400 in several areas of the city. Last week it climbed to 500, thirty times the maximum limit set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the medical journal The Lancet, in 2020, nearly 17,500 people died in Delhi due to air pollution.

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The World with AFP

source site-29