Delhi declares air pollution emergency

The Delhi government decided to shut all schools till November 5 after a Supreme Court mandated panel declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR region in the wake of rising level of pollution. As the pollution level in the region entered the “severe plus” category”, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority banned construction activity till November 5 and bursting of crackers during winter season.

“In the wake of rising level of pollution caused by stubble burning, the Delhi government has decided to shut all schools till November 5,” CM Arvind Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.

The CM also met EPCA Chairman Bhure Lal and assured him of all cooperation in implementing the Graded Response Action Plan. “....I sought guidance from him and reiterated the commitment of our govt in dealing wid pollution. I also assured him all cooperation in implementing GRAP and other measures (sic),” Kejriwal said in another tweet. In a letter to chief secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, Lal said, “The air quality in Delhi and NCR deteriorated further last night and is now at the severe-plus level. We have to take this as a public health emergency as it will have adverse health impacts on all, particularly our children.”

According to official data, the overall Air Quality Index at 1 pm on Friday was recorded at 480, which falls in the “severe” category.

In an earlier tweet, Kejriwal said Delhi has turned into a “gas chamber” due to smoke arising out of crop burning in Punjab and Haryana.

On Friday, Kejriwal distributed masks to school children and told students that smoke emanating from stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana was causing air pollution here and asked them to write letters to CMs of the two states urging them to control it.

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