New Delhi, Nov 24 (EFE).- The authorities in New Delhi announced Wednesday the reopening of schools and colleges in the Indian capital, which have been closed since Nov.13 because of high levels of air pollution.
“Schools, colleges, and other educational institutions will be allowed to reopen from November 29,” regional environment minister Gopal Rai told the media, adding that air quality in the capital had improved.
Schools and colleges were initially closed for one week, and subsequently until the measure was extended until further notice, to avoid children’s exposure to air pollution, which remained within the categories considered dangerous for about two weeks.
The authorities Wednesday also announced that the work-from-home status for Delhi government employees would end on Nov.29, a measure implemented to reduce emissions of vehicles, which significantly contributes to air pollution in the capital.
The air quality index (AQI) reached the “dangerous” levels – above 400 – during the first week of November and remained on the rise for days until it reached 480 on the scale, which has a maximum measurement level of 500.
The alarming deterioration in the air quality of New Delhi is common at this time of year, when a number of factors coincide such as the arrival of winter and the decrease in winds that disperse the suspended particles.
The toxic air of the city is a cocktail of vehicle emissions, construction dust, particles originating from the burning of stubble in agricultural areas and the constant burning of solid waste of this city of 20 million inhabitants.
Although the city’s AQI has begun to fall below the 400-point barrier, it still remains in the “very poor” category, considered risky for people with respiratory diseases, or capable of causing respiratory problems after prolonged exposure. EFE