‘Worst smog in 17yrs’ shuts schools in New Delhi (PHOTOS)

© Dominique Faget
Numerous schools in New Delhi have been closed due to the worst toxic smog in 17 years, according to environmentalists. People shared photos on social media showing the Indian capital covered in thick smog, complaining of sneezing and eye irritation.

“All municipal schools under the three corporations will be closed… 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,” Subhash Arya, a leader of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), said, as cited by the Times of India. 

A photo posted by Anuja K. (@anujakhokhani) on

“The decision was taken… in the wake of severe pollution Delhi is reeling under,” he said.

Shri Ram School sent a message to parents, saying that “on account of high pollution levels in the city, the school will remain closed on Friday, 4th November and Monday, 7th November 2016.”

“To keep the children gainfully occupied at home, academic-related worksheets will be uploaded on academic resources on the parent portal,” the school statement said, as cited by the Indian Express.

“As facts stand today, the outdoor PM 2.5 count in the school is 1,000 micrograms per cubic meter and the indoor air quality is between 700 and 900 micrograms per cubic meter,” Heritage School in Gurgaon area reported. PM 2.5 is a tiny particle that can get into lungs and cause eye, nose, throat, and lung irritation, as well as coughing, sneezing, a runny nose, and shortness of breath.

A father of a student from Nirmal Bhartia School told the daily that they had also received a message saying “in view of the dust haze and air quality, the school has postponed the sports day and they will revert with a new date shortly.”

“I feel all schools should close down as the air smog is unbearable and children are most vulnerable to such things,” he added.

However, the Indian Express reported that students in the 10th and 12th classes are to come to school according to schedule.

People on social media have been posting photos of the capital covered in thick white smog.

“That’s smog or haze that’s dangerous and poisonous. I haven’t stopped sneezing the whole day. If this is the world you want your kids to be raised in,” one woman wrote on Instagram, while another posted, “My eyes burn if I step out onto the balcony.”

Reminds me of the song Radioactive by imagine dragons! #delhismog

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On Thursday the Center for Science and Environment released a report saying that the smog recorded on November 2, 2016 by the Indian Meteorological Department in New Delhi was the worst in 17 years.

The organization urged the authorities to close schools in the capital.

#nofilter #cannotseemycity #delhismog #mylostcity

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“This demands emergency response to protect the vulnerable – those who are suffering from respiratory and heart diseases and children,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, the head of CSE’s air pollution and sustainable mobility teams.

Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi also recorded the worst levels of smog in 17 years, with visibility ws “as low as 300-400 meters,” the document states.

“The lower wind speed and mixing height do not allow wind to disperse quickly, leading to higher concentration of pollutants,” the report explained.

#smog #Delhismog

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New Delhi usually ranks as one of the world’s most polluted cities. Over the past few weeks, the situation has been worsened by smoke from firecrackers used to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, plus the burning of crops in the region.

According to the Air Quality Index website, the current level of pollution in New Delhi is 711, which is considered “hazardous.” According to the website, for AQI to be considered normal or moderate, it can be no higher than 101. 

New Delhi is one of the most polluted cities on the planet, and India is home to four of the world’s 10 cities with the highest level of air pollution, the WHO said in May.