New Delhi schools reopen after slight air pollution drop

New Delhi, Nov 20 (EFE).- Schools in New Delhi reopened Monday after more than two weeks following a slight improvement in air quality that led the authorities to lift some of the restrictions imposed due to the high pollution.

Today’s reopening of schools, for the moment without outdoor activities, was announced by New Delhi’s Environment Minister Gopal Rai last weekend.

“Though there has been an improvement in New Delhi’s air quality, we must be cautious,” Rai said at a news conference.

The level of air pollution Monday in the Indian capital was at a “very poor” level according to the air quality index (AQI) measured by the country, with an average of 364 micrograms of PM2.5 – the most harmful particles to humans – per cubic meter of air.

Pollution levels continue to exceed daily levels considered safe by the World Health Organization by 24 times, and the capital again ranked first among the most polluted large cities in the world, according to Swiss company IQAir.

India’s air quality scale only includes one category above the current one, the “severe” level, which New Delhi has been registering in the last two weeks, motivating the imposition of different restrictions.

Added to the reopening of schools is the withdrawal of some of the other restrictions imposed, including the prohibition on the entry of trucks to the capital and other types of limitations on polluting vehicles, India’s Commission for Air Quality Management announced in a statement.

The alarming deterioration of New Delhi’s air quality occurs continuously at this time of year, when a series of factors coincide, such as the arrival of winter and the decrease in winds that prevent the dispersion of polluting agents.

The burning of rice stubble in the states neighboring the capital also contributes to the pollution spike, while experts point out the inaction of the authorities in tackling the problem at its roots. EFE


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