A day after some private schools in the Delhi-NCR region decided to shut down due to the spike in pollution levels, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) also decided to keep its schools shut on Saturday. Air in the city has been severely polluted since Diwali and many schools in Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon declared holiday on Friday and Saturday. Most others cancelled outdoor trips and sports classes so that children don’t have to breathe polluted air during school hours. While MCD schools will be shut, Delhi government schools will remain open.
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Officials at the directorate of education also confirmed that the government did not plan to shut schools under it. Meanwhile, the Delhi government cabinet has asked the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to present a plan to tackle the prevailing air pollution by Monday. The cabinet also suggested that an expert agency be appointed to study the reasons for pollution and recommend remedial steps to counter it.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests also held a meeting with officials of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Delhi, in which steps to control pollution were discussed. “We discussed various issues, including crop burning, dust pollution, landfill sites, building construction, vehicular pollution, industrial pollution. All states have taken various steps to control pollution. Last December, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had instructed states on 42 points. There were short, medium and long-term measures in that… PUC check points where fitness certificates are given need to be monitored. Around Delhi, brick kilns have to be reviewed,” said Environment Secretary A N Jha.
A statement issued by the ministry said all state governments had agreed to undertake sprinkling of water on dusty roads, introduce wet/mechanised vacuum sweeping of roads, maintain pothole-free roads and make open areas greener to reduce dust.