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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Delhi remains engulfed in toxic smog; schools shut, entry of trucks banned

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Indian officials have recommended that offices should let half of the employees work from home in Delhi while the city struggles with smog. Construction activities across the city have also been halted.

The Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) was directed to shut down schools and educational institutions till 21 November as city’s air pollution worsens.

Schools have already been closed for over a week, as the air quality is hazardous not only to those with respiratory issues but also healthy individuals.

The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) recommended using anti-smog guns, devices that spray atomized water, cross the city, and authorities were also considering a two-day lockdown, reported daily newspaper Hindustan Times.

The watchdog body also advised workplaces in the states of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan to allow at least 50% of the employees to work from home.

Capital Delhi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) was 389 on Wednesday, in the “very poor” category for the fourth day in a row. It had been in the most harmful “severe” category for the previous week, following the festive season.

All construction activities have been halted across the region, and only five out of Delhi’s 11 thermal power plants will be operational.

The Supreme Court of India had asked the regional watchdog agency CAQM for suggestions on fighting the air pollution. The Court also criticized the federal and state governments over their failure to address the problem, as more than 20 million people have to endure toxic air almost every winter.

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