New Delhi: Schools running under the three municipal corporations of Delhi will be closed on Saturday in view of the heavy smog that is choking the national capital.
About 10 lakh students who are enrolled in the schools administered by the all three municipal corporations will be affected by the decision.
What a “terrible” future we are giving to our children, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) said on Friday as it castigated the Centre and AAP government for “shifting blame” and not taking steps to tackle the alarming air pollution level in Delhi, dubbed as the worst in 17 years.
“For you (authorities), the people of Delhi do not matter but for us, they matter. We will do whatever we can,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar said, adding “just look at what we are giving to our children for future. This is terrible”.
Terming the situation akin to that of an “emergency”, the tribunal observed that the Centre, Delhi government and other authorities were “not bothered” about the rising air pollution level and its consequences on the health of citizens of Delhi but instead “shifting the blame on each other”.
On Thursday, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) pressed alarm buttons to highlight one of the worst cases of smog in the national capital.
Analysing the available data, the CSE report states that the post-Diwali peak of pollution is higher than the Diwali peak, as the levels of PM2.5 have increased by 62.7 per cent on November 2 as compared to that on Diwali. On November 2, the levels were 9.4 times the standard.
The Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi recorded the worst levels of smog in 17 years on November 2, with visibility as low as 300-400 metres.
The period between 11 am and 2:30 pm was the worst in the day with respect to airport visibility.
Delhi government told the NGT bench that rise in air pollution was due to burning of crop residues in the neighbouring states of Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan.
However, the bench said, “It’s not just the crop burning. There is no crop burning in Delhi. According to you, crop burning is in Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan but nowadays there is no wind, so the smoke can’t come here from these states.”
It also issued notices to the Secretaries of Environment and Urban Development of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan and directed them to remain present before it on the next date of hearing on November 8.