Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the decision to shut schools will be taken “when the need arises”, even though the air quality in the national capital continued to remain in the second-worst severe category on Wednesday.”We will take a decision to shut schools based on regular situation. When the need arises, we will take this step,” Sisodia, also the education minister, told reporters when asked about the government’s plan to close schools in view of the increasing pollution level. Delhi remained encapsulated in a thick haze on Wednesday with its air quality dropping further, largely due to the heavy load of smoke from stubble burning in Haryana and Punjab.
This year, the government will start distributing 50 lakh N95 masks among school students in Delhi from Friday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said.
The air quantity index, which takes into account five chief pollutants including PM10 and PM2.5, was recorded at 416 towards noon, according to the Central Pollution Control Board.
An AQI between 401-500 is considered ‘severe’ and anything beyond 500 is ‘severe-plus emergency’.
In November 2017, the government had shut schools for a few days due to deteriorating air quality. It had also issued a health advisory for high-risk people, including children, the elderly and those suffering from asthma and heart ailments.