Schools shut as toxic smog hits Delhi
Delhi shut all primary schools on Wednesday as pollution hit 70 times the World Health Organization's safe level, prompting doctors in the Indian capital to warn of a public health emergency.
Dense grey smog shrouded the roads of the world's most polluted capital, where many pedestrians and bikers wore masks or covered their mouths with handkerchiefs and scarves.
The US embassy website showed the concentration of PM 2.5 -- the microscopic particles that are the most damaging to health -- topped 700 early on Wednesday morning, 70 times the WHO guidelines on long-term exposure, before dropping slightly.
"When I came to Delhi in 1984, the air in the city was clean. But today when I left at 4 am for work I could barely see anything," said Jeevanand Joshi, a roadside tea seller.
"This is not fog, this is smoke, and it is certainly making us sick."
The Indian Medical Association declared a public health emergency, urging administrators to "curb this menace", while the Environment Pollution Authority warned that things were set to get worse in the coming days.
As public outrage mounted, the Delhi government ordered the closure of all primary schools on Wednesday.
"We have decided to shut schools up to primary level for a day, and will evaluate the situation on an hourly basis to see if such a closure needs to be extended," Delhi's deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia told reporters.
Almost 2 million students are enrolled in primary schools in Delhi, according to government data from 2015.
All outdoor activities have also been banned across the capital's 6,000 schools while pollution levels remain at severe levels.
The city of 20 million has the unenviable distinction of being the world's most polluted major city, often surpassing Beijing.
Since 2014, when WHO figures showed the extent of the crisis, authorities in Delhi have closed power plants temporarily and experimented with taking some cars off the road.
But the temporary measures have so far had little effect.
Delhi's air quality typically worsens ahead of the onset of winter as cooler air traps pollutants near the ground, preventing them from dispersing into the atmosphere, a phenomenon known as inversion.
High levels of moisture in the air and a lack of wind meant emissions had become trapped in the environment, according to India's Central Pollution Control Board.
Firecrackers set off to celebrate the Diwali festival of lights in the city add to the toxic mix created by pollution from diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and industrial emissions.
The problem is further exacerbated by the burning of crop stubble by farmers after the harvest in northern India, a practice that remains commonplace despite an official ban.
On Tuesday India's Environment Pollution Authority, which was set up by the Supreme Court to tackle the issue, ordered the closure of dust-spewing brick kilns and an increase in parking fees to encourage the use of public transport.
"In terms of air pollution, things are expected to get much worse in the coming days," Bhure Lal, head of the agency, said in a statement late Tuesday.
- Maldives:President Yameen’s relationship with India and the US
- (UN)TRAFFICKED: A platform to combat trafficking in India
- IDPs and Military occupation of Northern land Why correlation between caste and land is ignored
- Three die as car rams into train
- KG discovery in Point Pedro sea 150kg in 60 bags - Navy
- Symposium on alcohol menace
- Tax concessions on used electric cars Extend period to three years – VIASL
- Refusal to hoist National Flag Cooray to seek AG’s opinion
- Gintota mayhem Police to crackdown on rumour mongers
- Lanka Marine Services scandal Vasu flays Govt for delay in probe
- Dedicated Courts to hear sleaze cases Start with Bond issue says JVP
- O/L exam to commence on 12 December
- Ajith P. Perera writes to PCoI Denies conversing with Aloysius
- In the wake of violence Gintota divided into 3 for security – Police Preventable if Police acted sooner -IGP
- Fuel Crisis Hoax CPC goes to the CID
- Only 10 detained under PTA Govt Suspects held on serious terror charges
- Speaker agrees to summon Party Leaders’ meeting Kiriella claims breach of Parliamentary privileges occurred Blames CID and AG’s Dept
- PCoI quashes tapping allegations
- Treasury Bonds Probe PM told Aloysius to resign from PTL
- India’s Choice: Saintliness Vs Efficiency
- Commercial Credit Japanese Firm moves in
- Man shot dead at Punchi Borella
- SAITM still exists, claims GMFSPA Group to meet Maha Sangha
- Lanka tour operators to visit Pakistan
- Fake sms on petrol shortage again! Leads to panic buying in Kandy
- ‘Singer Cup’ Under-19 Schools Cricket 20 wickets fall on day one
- Kohli scores 50th international century Bad light saves Sri Lanka
- I want to continue contributing - Kohli
- England motivated as ever even without Stokes
- Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna dies aged 49: WTA
- CMSC – Come and Try Day Out Ranjit Jinasena Memorial Autocross
- Cook captures maiden PGA Tour title
- Walkers Tours regain tag rugby title
- Dialog Champions League 2017 Renown SC occupy top spot
- Record-breaking Valencia maintain Barca chase
- Dimitrov eyes Grand Slam after ATP win
- Bolt to make Aussie cricketers ‘explosive’ runners
- Kandy SC in runaway win
- SLC clarifies Dilruwan’s actions
- India take 49 run lead
- Six-year-old wins two Silvers in shooting events
- Renown rout Blue Stars 4-0
- MAS Unichela emerge champions
- Senkadagala Rally
- Air Force SC in 15-7 win over Police SC
- NITFB settles flood of claims in 2017
- CSE approves LVL Energy Fund IPO
- SLT posts 9- month revenue of Rs 56.4 B
- EU cities fight to gain from London’s losses
- CCC says Pak capitalized while SL dilly dallied
- Asian shares retreat on German coalition impasse
- Alibaba aims beyond China and e-commerce
- FX Management Act flays rupee
- National Chamber Seminar on ‘Budget 2018 – Highlights’
- Canada, Mexico to question US auto content demands
- Brandix JV with Best Pacific, Hong Kong
- Hemas Hospitals Thalawathugoda concludes diabetes awareness drive
- Unilever and MullenLowe most awarded partnership at Effies
- MBSL wins International Europe Award for Quality 2017
- SLIM hosts 16th Brand Excellence Awards
- Asia markets mixed as investors focus on US tax reform
- China’s promised 2030 energy revolution
- Will Europe’s economic miracle be derailed by a central-bank power struggle?
- Meet the world’s youngest self-made billionaire
- Flooding the market with fake rhino horns
- TNA crisis Enmity within
- The March of Folly Restitution with transparency rather than revenge
- The National Flag A Muddled Tamil voice
- Rohingya children Face a bleak future
- New Constitution:National perspective versus political aspirations
- China and Vietnam: Beyond Diplomacy
- Middle East: Kurdish Pawn Sacrificed
- Concretes and abstracts Two comics at the Savoy in London
- Row over beer tax
- Illegal mining Muttur’s sandy secret Hundreds of tons of sand taken away at night
- Eastern Provincial Council destroyed- Hafiz
- eLECTRIC AND HYBRID CARS MUST BE PRICED REASONABLY
- Wigneswaran’s claim Devanampiya Tissa was a Tamil king An academically naïve proposition Prof Raj Somadeva
- An argument for a new Constitution
- ‘Otriachchi’, ‘Orumiththa Nadu’, ‘Aekeeya Rajya’ and unitary state
- A Constitutional Framework for Sri Lanka
- PAST LIFE AND RULING PLANETS IN KRISHNAMURTHI PADHDHATHI
- Build before onset of Kona Masa
- Palms of road accident victims
- Want to get rid of malefic Saturn ?
- Installing doors and windows according to Vastu
- Our children and our cinema
- INTERPRETING ASIAN CINEMA: CHALLENGES AHEAD
- How Sanskrit journalism is slowly hogging headlines
- ice manufacturing in South Asia
- CMSC’s season finale concert
- Two documentaries on Sri Lanka in Film South Asia 2017
- Kite Surfing Lanka Kalpitiya An experience of a lifetime
- Ella and mini Adam’s Peak
- A cave of history -Ravana Cave
- Conquering Fashion
- Gavin Ryan’s Salon Professionalism to the next level
- THE WRITER’S KITCHENETTE THE CRANBERRY ADVENTURES
- Calamitous Earthquake in Iran
- Scientists warn of ‘giant leap backward’ at climate talks
- Death of Ananda Senaratne