Smog emergency in India, New Delhi closes schools for 7 days

This time the alarm is not caused by Covid-19 but by pollution: New Delhi closes schools for a week due to smog. To announce the emergency measure chief minister of the Indian state that hosts the federal capital, Arvind Kejriwal, who spread alarming data on pollution on Twitter.

“We have decided to shut down so that children don’t have to breathe polluted air,” Prime Minister Kejriwal told reporters. In addition to the schools, the local authorities have decided to block all construction sites for four days in an attempt to lower the levels of dust in the air. Public and private employees were also asked to work from home.

Among the most polluted areas in the world

With its 20 million inhabitants, New Delhi is one of the most polluted megalopolises in the world, especially in winter when emissions from factories and vehicle exhaust pipes are added to the fires of agricultural waste, making the air unbreathable. In the past week, the situation has worsened and smog levels have risen to 437 on a scale of 500, according to the air quality index. In the last few hours, the levels of pm 2.5, the smallest and most harmful particles that can penetrate the blood, have exceeded 300, twenty times the maximum daily limit recommended by the World Health Organization. According to the Times of India, the number of people with respiratory problems in hospital emergency rooms has increased. “We are receiving 12-14 emergency patients every day, especially at night, when the symptoms cause sleep disturbances and panic,” said Dr. Suranjit Chatterjee of the Apollo hospital.

Ammonia in the sacred river

In recent days, a layer of toxic foam had appeared on the Yamuna River, a tributary of the holy Ganges, which flows through New Delhi. According to experts, the foam contains high levels of ammonia and phosphates which can cause respiratory and skin problems. The Pollution Control Center has warned that the emergency in the Indian metropolis could last until November 18