Delhi Reopens Schools and Building Sites as Air Pollution Levels Recede
Delhi, India – In a bid to restore normalcy to the city, Delhi has reopened schools and some building sites as air pollution levels recede. However, despite the slight improvement, the air quality in the Indian capital is still classified as hazardous.
According to the Swiss group IQAir, the air quality index (AQI) dropped from a record high of 509 on Thursday to 336 on Monday. This decrease in pollution levels prompted authorities to lift the closure of schools, allowing children to return to their educational institutions. However, as a precautionary measure, children were seen wearing masks on their way to school, to protect themselves from pollution.
One of the contributing factors to the poor air quality in Delhi is the toxic foam that has engulfed the Yamuna river. The foam, which comes from sludge and untreated waste, has been described as toxic but not lethal by authorities. In an effort to control the foam, the city’s water board has been spraying a food-grade chemical.
While the reopening of schools is a positive step, construction work on public infrastructure projects has also been allowed to resume. However, there are restrictions on activities that blow dust into the air to prevent further pollution. These measures are aimed at minimizing the impact on air quality while carrying out essential construction work.
Fortunately, there is some hope in the coming days, as wind speeds are forecasted to increase, leading to a further decrease in Delhi’s AQI. The dangerous PM2.5 particles suspended in the air are primarily caused by traffic emissions, particularly from vehicles. Studies have shown that vehicles contribute to 51% of PM2.5 particles along a key thoroughfare, posing a significant threat to human health.
It is concerning, however, that PM2.5 levels in the National Capital Region still exceed the safe limit set by the World Health Organization. This highlights the ongoing challenge that Delhi faces in combating air pollution, particularly during the winter months when pollutants are trapped and agricultural waste is burned in surrounding states.
The government has made commitments to improve air quality in the city, but the battle against pollution continues. As Delhi gradually opens up, it is crucial for both authorities and citizens to work together to find sustainable solutions that will ensure a healthier and cleaner future for all residents.
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