Schools in Indian Capital Shut Indefinitely As Smog Worsens
By Staff, Agencies
New Delhi has shut down schools until further notice, urged people to work from home and banned non-essential trucks from entering the Indian capital due to dangerous levels of air pollution.
One of the world’s most polluted cities – home to some 20 million people – New Delhi is cloaked every winter in a thick blanket of smog.
On Saturday, the Delhi state government had ordered schools to close for a week and banned construction work for four days.
But in an order passed late on Tuesday, the Commission for Air Quality Management for Delhi said all educational institutions should remain shut until further notice.
Five coal-fired power plants around New Delhi have also been temporarily shut down, according to an order from the panel on air pollution, which comes under the federal Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Trucks except those carrying essential goods are barred from entering the capital until November 21 and most construction activities in Delhi and its neighboring cities were halted, the order said.
“Anti-smog guns” and water sprinklers were ordered to operate at hotspots at least three times a day.
The commission also said at least 50 percent of staff employed in government should work from home until November 21 and encouraged those in private firms to follow suit.
The order comes days after the Delhi government pushed back against a call by India’s Supreme Court to declare a “pollution lockdown” – a first – which would restrict the city’s population to their homes.
The top court also rapped the federal and local governments over their failure to mitigate pollution.