New Delhi: Primary schools will reopen in India’s capital New Delhi this week and curbs will be lifted on certain construction activities, authorities said on Monday (November 7), after pollution levels improved to the ‘very poor’ category from ‘severe’. Residents in the capital have been waking up in recent weeks to hazy mornings with the sky a shade of grey. A thick layer of smog envelops the city in winter as cold, heavy air traps construction dust, vehicle emissions and smoke from crop stubble burning in neighbouring states, causing a surge in respiratory illnesses among its 20 million people.
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The air quality index in nearly all monitoring stations in the city was between 300 to 400 or in the “very poor” category on Monday, which experts say leads to respiratory illness on prolonged exposure. However it was an improvement on last week’s reading of 400-500 in the index, which is described as “severe”.
Directions for work from home amended and offices functioning at full capacity from today, Delhi state environment minister Gopal Rai told reporters.
Primary schools will reopen on Wednesday (November 2). The central and state governments ordered the closure of primary schools, banned the entry of diesel vehicles carrying non-essential goods and suspended most construction and demolition activity in the national capital region last week.
Rai said private demolition and construction will still remain banned, but public works relating to highways and power transmission will be permitted.
Air quality could worsen later this week, however, the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research said on its website.
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(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diarrhoea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.