• Monday, Dec 05, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Thousands of schools close as smog envelopes India, Pakistan

  • Published at 08:44 am November 9th, 2017
Thousands of schools close as smog envelopes India, Pakistan
Schools closed across large swathes of north India on Thursday as pollution hit hazardous levels for the third day, with growing calls for urgent government action to tackle what doctors are calling a public health emergency. Punjab's government said it was closing all 25,000 schools in the state for the rest of the week due to the acrid air blanketing north India and parts of neighbouring Pakistan. The decision came a day after Delhi authorities said they were closing all 6,000 schools in the capital until Sunday. Low winds and the annual post-harvest burning of crop stubble in Punjab and neighbouring areas have caused the levels of dangerous pollutants in the air to spike to many times the levels considered safe. Figures on the US embassy website showed levels of pm2.5—the smallest particulates that cause most damage to health—spiked at over 1,000 on Wednesday afternoon in Delhi, though by Thursday they had fallen to 590.   The World Health Organization's (WHO) guidelines say 25 is the maximum anyone can safely be exposed to over a 24-hour period. A government advisory urged anyone with breathing difficulties to remain indoors and said everyone should avoid strenuous activity. Media reports said the thick smog had also led to a series of road accidents in north India. Eight students were killed late Wednesday when a truck ploughed into them as they waited for a bus on a roadside in Punjab. On Thursday The Times of India joined growing calls for government action to curb the chronic pollution, which the Indian Medical Association this week termed a public health emergency. It is the second year running that Delhi—now the world's most polluted capital with air quality worse than Beijing—has faced such high levels of pm2.5. "Delhi once again has become a veritable gas chamber with denizens finding it difficult to breathe," India's most read English-language newspaper said in an editorial blaming “political apathy.” "Air pollution during winter months has become a catastrophe for large parts of north India. It's high time the question is asked: why can't authorities enjoying jurisdiction over the national capital of an aspiring great power... come up with concrete measures to tackle the world's worst air pollution," it said.   Since 2014, when WHO figures showed the extent of the crisis, authorities in Delhi have closed power plants temporarily and experimented with taking some cars off the road. But the temporary measures have had little effect. Delhi's air quality typically worsens before the onset of winter as cooler air traps pollutants near the ground and prevents them from dispersing into the atmosphere, a phenomenon known as inversion. The Delhi government is to meet later Thursday to decide whether to reintroduce restrictions on driving cars in the city.
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail