Delhi schools closed indefinitely due to fog – Times of India.

New Delhi: Delhi has closed schools until further notice, urged people to work from home and banned unnecessary trucks from entering the Indian capital due to dangerous levels of air pollution.

One of the most polluted cities in the world and home to about 20 million people, Delhi is shrouded in thick fog every winter.

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On Saturday, the Delhi government ordered schools to be closed for a week and construction work banned for four days. But in an order passed late on Tuesday, the Air Quality Management Commission for Delhi said all educational institutions should be closed until further notice.

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Lorries carrying essential goods were barred from entering the capital until November 21 and most construction work was halted, the order said.

“Anti-smog guns” and water cannons were instructed to work on the hotspot at least three times a day.

Six of the 11 thermal power plants with a radius of 300 km have been asked to suspend operations until further notice.

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The commission also said that at least 50 per cent of government employees should work from home and that private companies should be encouraged to follow them.

The order comes just days after the Delhi government backtracked on a call by India’s Supreme Court to declare a “pollution lockdown” – the first – which would limit the city’s population to their homes.

One of the causes of air pollution in winter is the smoke from burning crop residues of farmers in neighboring states.

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The government, however, has told the Supreme Court that industry contributes the most after vehicle pollution and dust.

This week, PM 2.5 levels – the most harmful particulate matter responsible for chronic lung and heart disease – have risen to more than 400 in various parts of the city.

Last week, the level reached 500 which is more than 30 times the maximum limit recommended by the World Health Organization.

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According to a 2020 Lancet report, about 17,500 people died in Delhi in 2019 due to air pollution.

And last year, a report by the Swiss company IQAAR found that 22 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities were in India.

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