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ENVIRONMENT

India closes schools as air quality turns hazardous

By Ninian Carter

November 3, 2023 - Children in Delhi have been taken out of school as the government enforces emergency measures to protect the youngest, and most susceptible, from the harmful effects of extremely toxic air.

Children in Delhi, India have been removed from schools and ordered to stay home as off-the-chart toxic air levels plague the city.

On Friday, November 3, the air quality index in some areas of India’s capital reached as high as 565 on the AQI index – more than ten times the moderately acceptable level – forcing a halt to construction works and a plea from authorities for people to work from home where possible.

The concentration of fine particulates (known as PM2.5) was 523mg per cubic metre – 105 times higher than recommended World Health Organisation guidelines.

Long term exposure to these particles – which come from a range of sources, including road traffic, construction and biomass burning – have been linked to chronic heart and respiratory conditions, which according to The Lancet, contributed to 3.43 million air pollution-related deaths in India, in 2019.

Air quality in Delhi typically deteriorates between October and November due to a mix of factors including weather patterns, emissions, and low temperatures which hinder pollutants from dispersing.

Sources
PUBLISHED: 03/11/2023; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images
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