Smog alert: Delhi Govt orders primary school shut, no to outdoor activities

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Delhi smog (File photo)
Delhi smog (File photo)

New Delhi : Delhi education minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday ordered primary schools to remain closed until further notice in view of the dense smog covering the national capital. 

Government, municipal corporation, and private schools till Class 5 will remain closed on Wednesday and this closure might be extended after reviewing the situation, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said.

Also, all outdoor activities in schools, including morning and afternoon assemblies, have been suspended, he said.

The decision to close schools was taken in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with officials of Education, Health, and Environment Departments.

The Arvind Kejriwal Govt took a slew of decisions on Tuesday to protect the city from deadly smog after IMA declared a health emergency. 

The parking fees have been increased four-times to discourage private vehicles on Delhi roads. 

The government may reintroduce odd-even traffic rules as well. 

Public health emergency

The Indian Medical Association declared a public health emergency in the national capital after dense layer of smog engulfed it on Tuesday.

The declaration came after a US embassy website claimed that levels of the fine pollutants known as PM2.5 have reached above 700 mark at several places in Delhi. The threshold figure for the same stands at 300.

"We have declared a state of public health emergency in Delhi since pollution is at an alarming level+ ," the head of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) Krishan Kumar Aggarwal told AFP. "Delhi authorities have to make every possible effort to curb this menace."

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, however, kept on blaming the crop burning in adjoining states as the prime reason behind such a dense smog.

Meanwhile, the authorities hiked vehicle parking fees by four times in Delhi in a bid to curb worsening air quality.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA) here to discourage people from using private vehicles as air pollution worsened further and touched more alarming proportions on Tuesday.

The National Capital Region saw its worst air quality and smog situation of the year -- which was even worse than a day after Diwali, as a yellow blanket of smog hung heavily in the sky. 

The pollution level rose to dangerous levels, with 18 out of 21 active pollution monitoring stations recording "severe" air quality.