New Delhi: As a choking blanket of smog enveloped the national capital today, a number of schools in Delhi suspended outdoor activities and advised parents to ensure their children wear masks.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also asked his deputy Manish Sisodia to consider shutting schools for a few days after the air quality dropped to the “severe” category on the air quality index in Delhi.
“Dear parents, please note that due to high pollution levels/unfavourable weather conditions in Delhi, morning sports practice has been suspended for a few days,” read a message by Sanskriti School.
Shri Ram School also issued a notice to parents along those lines.
Tagore International School has truncated outdoor activities to once a week since Diwali considering high pollution levels.
Mount Carmel School in an advisory said: “Dear parent, due to increased pollution levels and poor air quality, students are advised to wear masks to school from tomorrow.”
However, doctors said long-term measures are needed in addition to masks. AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said there is not enough data on the efficacy of masks and stressed on the need for initiating a movement to protect the environment.
“Masks are not very helpful as a lot of air can get inside from the sides. Also, they are tightly sealed and children and eldery find them very uncomfortable to use.
He suggested implementing long-term measures and said the use of nasal filters or air purifiers can provide short-term relief only.
Education institutions in the National Capital Region have also issued advisories in view of high pollution levels. Sri Ram School in Gurgaon “cancelled all after-school sports activities” and ordered that all “morning activities be conducted indoors”.
OP Jindal University in Haryana’s Sonepat asked students not to step out of the campus, saying “the air quality in district has dropped significantly and traffic on the Sonepat-Narela road is expected to be very unpredictable due to the weather condition”.