Schools shut, Centre takes stock

More than 1,700 schools under three municipal corporations in Delhi were closed on Saturday due to heavy smog, the worst the national capital has witnessed in 17 years. Authorities called emergency meetings, as the air quality continued to remain alarming in Delhi-NCR because of calm winds.
The hazardous blanket of haze and smog loomed over the Capital, giving no respite to residents of one of world’s most polluted cities that has been reeling due to pollution since the festival of Diwali.
The average level of particulate matter was above 400 micrograms per cubic metre, or in the “severe” category, at all the pollution measuring centres, including east Delhi’s Anand Vihar; Punjabi Bagh and Dwarka in the west; RK Puram in the south; and central Delhi’s Mandir Marg.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the central government needed to intervene to mitigate the alarming level of smog. He said vehicle restriction measures such as the odd-even programme will not be able to bring down smog, as initial studies suggested that the “large scale” influx of pollutant-laden smoke from farm fires in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana has aggravated the situation.

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