Delhi Primary Schools Shut As Air Quality Nosedives to ‘Severe’; GRAP-III Curbs Imposed
Curated By: Saurabh Verma
Last Updated: November 02, 2023, 21:11 IST
After the air quality touched the “severe” category levels, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday announced the closure of all government and private primary schools in the national capital for the next two days.
“In light of the rising pollution levels, all govt and private primary schools in Delhi will remain closed for the next 2 days,” Kejriwal wrote on X.
Non-essential construction work in Delhi-NCR and the entry of diesel trucks into the national capital will be also banned as restrictions under Stage 3 of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) came into force in Delhi-NCR from today.
Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Friday will chair a meeting of all departments on rising air pollution levels and implementation of GRAP III.
The Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR & Adjoining Areas (CAQM), in its order, said the air quality is expected to deteriorate further owing to the highly unfavourable meteorological and climatic conditions.
“The Sub-committee observed that the AQI of Delhi since 10 AM of November 2, 2023 is on sharp increase and at 4 PM the average AQI for Delhi on date recorded as 392. Further, the average AQI for Delhi at 5 PM stood at 402 which is only expected to increase further owing to the highly unfavorable meteorological and climatic conditions,” read the order.
Centre’s Panel Suggests Delhi-NCR Govts to Shut Schools
The CAQM asked state governments in Delhi-NCR to take a decision on discontinuing physical classes in schools for children up to Class V and conducting classes in an online mode.
“State Govts. in NCR and GNCTD may take a decision on discontinuing physical classes in schools for children up to Class V and conducting classes in an online mode,” it said in the order.
CAQM Invokes 8-point Plan Under Stage III
The CAQM also decided to invoke 8-point action plan as per Stage-III of GRAP in the entire NCR with immediate effect, to prevent further deterioration of air quality in the region;
- Intensify the frequency of mechanised/ vacuum-based sweeping of roads.
- Daily water sprinkling along with dust suppressants, before peak traffic hours, on roads and right of ways including hotspots, heavy traffic corridors and ensure proper disposal of the collected dust in designated sites/ landfills.
- Intensify public transport services. Introduce differential rates to encourage off-Peak travel.
- Enforce strict ban on construction and demolition activities in the entire NCR, except for the some categories of projects.
- Shut operations of stone crushers
- Close down all mining and associated activities in the NCR.
- NCR State Govts/GNCTD to impose strict restrictions on plying of BS III petrol and BS IV diesel LMVs (4 wheelers) in Delhi and in the districts of Gurugram, Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar.
- State Governments in NCR and GNCTD may take a decision on discontinuing physical classes in schools for children up to Class V and conducting classes in an online mode.
CAQM’s Appeal to People
- Walk or use cycles for small distances.
- Choose a cleaner commute. Share a ride to work or use public transport.
- People, whose positions allow working from home, may work from home.
- Do not use coal and wood for heating purpose.
- Individual house owners may provide electric heaters (during winters) to security staff to avoid open burning.
- Combine errands and reduce trips
DMRC to Add 20 Extra Trips From Friday
In view of the implementation of GRAP-III stage to combat pollution in Delhi, DMRC will be further adding 20 extra trips across its network starting from Friday.
Delhi Metro is already running 40 additional train trips on weekdays (Mon-Fri) from 25th October onwards when GRAP-II stage came into force, the DMRC said.
“Thus, from tomorrow, DMRC will be running a toal of 60 additional trips as part of its measures taken under GRAP to encourage more and more people to use public transport in Delhi-NCR,” it said.
SMOKY HAZE THICKENED, VISIBILITY DROPPED
The smoky haze shrouding Delhi thickened on Thursday due to a surge in farm fires and unfavourable weather conditions, prompting doctors to issue warnings about breathing issues being aggravated.
An official from the India Meteorological Department reported that visibility was reduced to just 500 metres at the Safdarjung Observatory around 7 am, gradually improving to 800 metres as temperatures increased during the day.
Cold temperatures create stable atmospheric conditions, known as temperature inversions, where a layer of warm air traps cooler air near the ground, allowing the accumulation of pollutants.
(With PTI inputs)