Children exposed to harmful spike in pollution as schools remain open

Delhi-NCR gasped for breath on Wednesday as the noxious smog resulting from raging farm fires and unfavourable weather pushed pollution levels towards the “emergency” zone for the third time in the last 15 days.

A large number of children were exposed to the harmful spike in pollution as schools remained opened on Wednesday.

Pictures of students with their faces covered with anti-pollution masks and handkerchiefs were shared widely on social media.

Scores of people also posted pictures of open burning of garbage and heaps of construction waste lying uncovered in several areas.

“#DelhiAirPollution what’s the use of being a developing country if our children are not permitted to breathe in clean air…Must think seriously about solutions as soon as possible before any emergency occurs.#DelhiAirEmergency,” a Twitter user said.

Many people questioned the effectiveness of the odd-even road rationing scheme, brought in by the Delhi government as an emergency measure to check pollution.

“How can common man survive in such envt. where AQI PM2.5 is crossing 500. I would like to ask both PM @narendramodi and Delhi CM @ArvindKejriwal Who is responsible for this mess, also odd even scheme doesn’t seem to be working.#DelhiAirEmergency (sic),” another user said.

At 11.30 am, Delhi’s overall air quality index read 454. Jahangirpuri and Rohini were the most-polluted areas with an AQI of 483, followed by Mundka (479) and Bawana (479). Faridabad (436), Ghaziabad (468), Greater Noida (459), Gurgaon (450) and Noida (469) also choked on extremely polluted air.

The PM10 levels increased to 506 micrograms per cubic meter in the morning, more than five times the safe limit of 100 micrograms per cubic meter.

According to weather experts, a fall in the temperature and wind speed led to the accumulation of pollutants. The problems were compounded by a cloud cover that blocked sunlight.

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