Arvind Kejriwal calls Delhi 'gas chamber', asks Manish Sisodia to shut school for few days as air quality declines sharply

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal urged education minister Manish Sisodia to keep schools shut for a few days following a sharp decline in air quality in the city.

PTI November 07, 2017 15:11:03 IST
Arvind Kejriwal calls Delhi 'gas chamber', asks Manish Sisodia to shut school for few days as air quality declines sharply

After a public health emergency was declared by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) in New Delhi on Tuesday considering the sharp decline in air quality level, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal urged education minister Manish Sisodia to keep schools shut for a few days.

Calling the city a 'gas chamber', Kejriwal said that every year at this time of the year the same situation was faced. He added that they needed to find a solution to the problem of crop burning practiced in the neighbouring states.

This comes after a letter to Arvind Kejriwal from the IMA was released by India Today which said, "children are more prone to harmful effects of air pollution as their lungs are still growing... Breathing polluted air can hamper the growth of their lungs leading to breathing problems later on in life."

Arvind Kejriwal calls Delhi gas chamber asks Manish Sisodia to shut school for few days as air quality declines sharply

File image of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Getty images

The IMA also appealed to Kejriwal to issue an advisory for all schools in Delhi-NCR, which should be disseminated through different media such as radio, print and social media. It also requested Kejriwal to cancel the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon scheduled for 19 November, according to DNA.

"The air quality is particularly poor in the early morning when pollution is extremely high. This is also the time when the proposed Half Marathon is scheduled to start. The hazardous pollution levels may have disastrous health consequences, even for the healthy participants," said the letter, according to the DNA report.

India Today further reported that the letter said when the Air Quality Index crosses 200, time spent outdoors should be restricted.

The city's air has witnessed a rise in the air pollutant level with Delhi's average Air Quality Index (AQI) being 411 at 9 am on Tuesday morning, as per News18. According to reports, visibility dropped to 200 metre at 8.30 am. Mathura Road was at 441, which is one of the highest in the city.

In Noida, AQI was 430 at 9.30 am. Low visibility in the city resulted in slow traffic, reported Hindustan Times while adding that long traffic queues were seen on the Delhi-Noida-Delhi Flyway and Noida-Greater Noida expressway.

Over 20 flights were delayed or affected due to runway closure and smog at Indira Gandhi International Airport, reported ANI.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said high moisture level in the air has trapped emissions from local sources and hanging low over the city in the absence of wind. Dipankar Saha, CPCB's air lab chief, told PTI that air from neighbouring Punjab and Haryana, where paddy stubble burning is in full swing, is not entering the city as of now. When it starts, the situation is expected to deteriorate further. The CPCB recorded 'very poor' air quality in the national capital. Neighbouring Noida and Ghaziabad, however, recorded 'severe'air quality.

According to the graded response action plan, when AQI hits severe levels, agencies are supposed to take counter measures, reported Hindustan Times. These include, enhancing public transport services with differential pricing to encourage off-peak hour travel, and increasing the frequency of mechanized cleaning of roads and sprinkling of water on roads.

With inputs from agencies

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