Due to 'very poor' air quality, all schools in Delhi will remain closed from December 3 onwards till further order, Environment Minister Gopal Rai said on Thursday.
Earlier on November 13, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced to shut down physical classes in schools for a week, adding that education will continue in virtual mode. After a gap of almost two weeks, all schools in the national capital were reopening on November 29.
This move of the Delhi government came after the Supreme Court of India gave a 24-hour ultimatum to the Centre, Delhi and its neighbouring states to act against rising air pollution. Despite the ban, CBSE exams would go ahead with necessary precautions and safety measures.
The state government took a similar decision on Monday when it announced a blanket ban on all the construction and demolition (C&D) activities in the city until further orders. Besides, the entry of non-CNG and non-electric trucks from outside of Delhi was also prohibited on the same date till December 7 to reduce vehicular emission.
While stubble burning in the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab is reported to be a major source of pollution in the capital, dust from the construction and demolition activities, vehicular emission and pollution from open burning contribute as the city's own source of pollution.
On Thursday, Delhi's overall AQI at 9.30 a.m. stood at 382 with the level of PM2.5 and PM10 standing at 227 and 401, respectively, as per System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR).
According to the Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi, the air quality is likely to remain in the 'Very Poor' category on December 3 and December 4.
"Winds are likely to remain slow/calm during December 3 to 5 which are unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants. The Outlook for subsequent five days: The air quality is likely to remain in Very Poor category with PM2.5 to be the predominant pollutant," It added.