Schools shut in Delhi as toxic smog thickens
NEW DELHI - Reuters
Delhi’s government yesterday ordered schools shut for the rest of the week as air pollution worsened and criticism mounted over the failure of Indian authorities to tackle the public health crisis.
Thick smog swathed Delhi, where pollution readings in some places peaked at 500, the most severe level on the government’s air quality index measuring the number of poisonous particles.
“The air quality in Delhi is deteriorating. We cannot compromise with the health of children at this stage,” said Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, ordering the closure until Nov. 12.
The Delhi administration, which described the city as a “gas chamber”, had previously ordered schools for young children to close only for yesterday.
Anti-pollution measures adopted by the Delhi state government in recent years include limiting car use and taxing trucks that pass through the city, but few have succeeded.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s federal government also urged Delhi and the surrounding northern states to immediately tackle dangerous levels of pollution in the capital, even if that meant deploying helicopters to spray jets of water.