Indian capital orders closure of all schools due to severe pollution

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/11/8 2:40:56

The Delhi government Tuesday ordered the closure of all schools in the Indian capital as pollution levels reached "severe" levels in the city.

Air quality index in the city touched severe mark as particulate matter PM2.5 breached 700 -- well over double the threshold of 300 that is classed as hazardous.

"All junior sections in schools across the city will remain shut Wednesday," Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced.

The Delhi government has also put out health advisories for high-risk groups, mainly the children and elderly, saying they should avoid outdoor activities.

"I would also request people to avoid morning walks. The situation is close to a severe crisis," Sisodia said.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal likened Delhi to a "gas chamber." "Every year, during this time of the year, Delhi becomes a gas chamber for almost a month," he said.

Meanwhile, India's Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution and Control Authority has ordered a four-time hike in parking fee in Delhi to reduce the use of private cars.

"The aim is to curb vehicular pollution, one of the major sources of air pollution. The government should also stop all construction activities in Delhi," an official said.

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