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1,800 Schools Shut As Delhi Chokes On Pollution

The national capital is facing the worst smog in 17 years.

05/11/2016 11:24 AM IST | Updated 05/11/2016 11:36 AM IST
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School children taking precautions as city covered under a blanket of heavy smog, air quality deteriorated sharply overnight leading to poor visibility conditions across the city, on November 3, 2016 in New Delhi, India.

NEW DELHI -- Schools running under the three municipal corporations of Delhi have been ordered to be closed on Saturday in view of the heavy smog, the worst the national capital has faced in 17 years.

"All municipal schools under the three corporations will be closed tomorrow due to the heavy smog and pollution. The order for closure is only for a day as of now. As per the situation, we may decide to close them later as well," Leader of Opposition in SDMC, Subhash Arya said.

According to reports, some 1800 primary schools will be shut down.

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About 10 lakh students are enrolled in the schools administered by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), Nouth Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC).

"The decision was taken on Friday at a meeting held in the wake of severe pollution Delhiites are reeling under. And, since the smog is worse during the morning, it was decided to close the schools," said Arya, also the former Mayor of south Delhi.

The national capital is facing the worst smog in 17 years, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) had said on Friday, while asking the Delhi government to issue health alerts and convey that children should stay indoors as there is a state of health emergency due to peaking air pollution.

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Peak level of respirable pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 had also violated the safe limits by over 15 times at places like R K Puram. The prescribed standard of PM 2.5 is 60 micrograms per cubic metre, but it touched 955 in real-time during early morning hours.

Admitting that the enforcement of rules for tackling air pollution was "weak", the Environment Ministry on Friday asked states to "strictly" implement a host of measures, including checking spread of fly ash from Delhi's Badarpur plant and shutting down of old brick kilns.

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