India’s capital closes schools due to pollution

A water cannon sprays droplets to combat air pollution, in New Delhi on November 4, 2022. afp_tickers

This content was published on November 04, 2022 – 10:25

(AFP)

Authorities announced on Friday that schools will be closed on Saturday in New Delhi due to “hazardous” levels of air pollution from agricultural burns in northern India, which are driving up industrial emissions and traffic.

“We will close primary schools from tomorrow (Saturday) until the pollution situation improves,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told reporters.

According to Swiss air quality monitoring company IQAir, the level of PM2.5 particles, the most dangerous, was 25 times higher than the maximum set by the World Health Organization on Friday.

Each winter, with the coldest air, emissions freeze and persist in megacities of 20 million people, which are typically ranked among the most polluted areas in the world.

Friday was at the top of IQAir’s list of major cities with the most polluted air.

Delhi authorities regularly announce plans to reduce pollution, but to little effect.

Agricultural burning, which is responsible for a third of Delhi’s pollution on Thursday, according to India’s Air Quality Monitoring Agency, has been banned in Punjab and other states, although farmers have ignored the ban.

This situation has taken on a political character, with the capital and Punjab being ruled by the Adami Public Party (AAP), a rival to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which trades blame for the smoldering problem.

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