Rules related to shutting of schools on severe air pollution days

Severe pollution days are back again this year and schools are still open. This is surprising and blatant ignorance of rules defined for shutting of schools on severe air pollution days. These rules are defined as part of GRAP (Graded Response Action Plan) and this plan applies to all cities in Delhi NCR.

GRAP is an environmental emergency plan. GRAP is supposed to be implemented in Delhi NCR by Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) to tackle rising air pollution. The graded action plan (GRAP) lists different actions and restrictions to be enforced by EPCA with respect to different stages of air pollution defined by AQI (Air quality index). Below is the rule advising shutting of schools on days of Severe+ air pollution:

Hence, EPCA is supposed to direct shutting of schools if PM 2.5 is more than 300µg/m3 or PM 10 is more than 500300µg/m3 for more than 48 hours. The pollution in different cities of Delhi NCR has been crossing this limit since last 2 days. However, still there are no signs of DMs or EPCA directing schools to be shut. Below is just an excerpt to give an idea of AQI levels in main cities in NCR (Source: https://aqicn.org):

 

While the authorities are not doing there job of shutting of schools on severe air pollution days, it is important for parents to be careful about sending their kids to schools. A kid at school breathes air which is equivalent to almost 11 cigarettes (Reference: https://edition.cnn.com/2017/11/10/health/delhi-pollution-equivalent-cigarettes-a-day/index.html). Hence, the impact of sending child to school on such days are significant. Parents shall ask schools to shut down outdoor assemblies and activities completely while air pollution is at this severe level.

Last updated: November 1, 2019 at 0:19 am

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