Schools close in Indian capital after spike in air pollution

New Delhi, Dec 2 (EFE).- The Indian authorities decided Thursday to close education centers in New Delhi from the following day due to the deterioration in air quality in what is considered the world’s most polluted capital city.

The schools, which were earlier closed for two weeks in November for the same reason, had reopened three days ago in the face of government optimism over a slight improvement in air quality, which however went from “very poor” to “dangerous” once again.

“We had reopened schools considering the forecast that air quality would improve. However, the air pollution levels have increased again and we have decided to shut schools from Friday till further orders,” Delhi’s Environment Minister Gopal Rai told the media.

The air quality index (AQI) on Thursday was classified as “dangerous,” reaching a peak of 453 at its worst in a scale that only goes up to a maximum of 500, according to the Central Pollution Control Board.

According to the Swiss company AQAir, which specializes in measuring air quality, New Delhi is now the most polluted city in the world, followed by the Pakistan’s Lahore, and Kolkata in India.

The Supreme Court of India, which for almost a month has urged for action from the central and regional governments, on Thursday gave them 24 hours to take measures to address air toxicity levels in the city.

The alarming deterioration in the air quality of New Delhi is common at this time of year when a number of factors such as the arrival of winter and the decrease in winds that prevent the dispersion of pollutants coincide.

The toxic air of New Delhi is is a result 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. EFE


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