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The air quality index has worsened and reached an alarming mark. Due to increased pollution, the chief minister of Delhi had said that all public and private primary schools would be closed until November 5. It has been extended to November 10 due to the worsening circumstances. Delhi's Education Minister Ms. Atishi declared that all elementary schools in the state would be closed until 10th November due to the rapidly declining air quality. The schools now have the opportunity to move their classes online for students in grades 6 through 12. For the first time this season, pollution levels in the nation's capital are above the 'severe' threshold and experts are predicting that over the following two weeks, pollution levels will rise much further. In accordance with the National Capital Region's air pollution control plan, all emergency measures, including a prohibition on polluting trucks, commercial four-wheelers, and all forms of construction, has been enforced. At several areas across Delhi-NCR, the concentration of PM2.5, a fine particulate matter that can enter the respiratory system deeply and cause health issues, was seven to eight times higher than the government-mandated safe limit of 60 micrograms per cubic metre. It was 80–100 times higher than the WHO-established safe threshold of 5 micrograms per cubic metre. "As pollution levels continue to remain high, primary schools in Delhi will stay closed till 10th November. For Grade 6-12, schools are being given the option of shifting to online classes." said Delhi Education Minister Ms. Atishi. However, parents say that online classes are not effective and closing schools are not the solution.

Dwarka City talked to few Principals to know the impact of pollution on children-

Hazardous smog and a toxic haze have surrounded Delhi and its surrounding areas. The air quality index is beyond the prescribed healthy limit and this has led to rise in respiratory problems amongst children. Thus, it would suffice to agree with the government’s decision to close the school for primary classes. At least this way we could ensure a preventive measure in place for the children. Although the shift from physical to online classes would certify continued learning but then this cannot be termed as permanent precautionary measure. We have to accept that closure of the schools cannot be the answer to this complex social issue. Therefore, let us be together in adopting a sustainable lifestyle and doing our bit for the environment.

Dr. Jaspreet Kaur, Vice Principal, Bal Bhavan International School, Sector-12

Rising air pollution has crossed alarming levels. It was a good idea to suggest shifting the Pre- School to class V to Online education. In fact now all classes have shifted to the Online mode of education so that not only will our children be safer but the number of vehicles on roads will be curtailed. We also would like the odd- even scheme of plying cars on roads to be brought back. The issue of a solution has again risen. State or Centre governments should get the straw from fields collected and turned into either useful material or reduced to ashes through a controlled smoke less process. Farmers are also provided with the ash thus generated to maintain the fertility of their fields. Incentivizing gainful disposal of agricultural waste is more important than promising electoral freebies.

Nita Arora, Director, Sri VIS, Sector-18

Is closure of Preschools right or wrong? 

Closure of schools - a forced decision due to severe pollution in the city is really sad. But we as members of society need to understand that we are all responsible for the same in one way or the other. Our AC’s, Vehicles, waste management, construction activities are creating a load on Mother Nature and it has started giving it back. Excess of everything is bad and we all need to find a conscious solution for this pertinent problem. We as citizens of the city must contribute to reducing the carbon emissions. School buildings are closed but education is not. Schools are doing their bit by engaging children in online activities. They are in touch with their teachers and the teaching learning process is going on. As far as government is concerned, they don’t wish to expose the little ones to the city atmosphere which is like a gas chamber right now, they are forced to take a decision to shut the schools down. The Need of hour is that we should find optimal solutions to lessen Carbon footprints, take measures to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recover. Let’s preserve Mother Earth and keep hope alive. “Save environment for the future generations. “ Protection of the Planet starts with the US!!!

Vineeta Bagga, Senior Coordinator, Sri VIS, Dwarka

Air quality is our shared responsibility but unfortunately, this life-sustaining aspect is being neglected the most by all of us and Air pollution has become one of the greatest environmental risks to health. As the air quality index (AQI) dropped drastically, putting the capital territory in the "severe" or "hazardous" category resulting in the closure of Pre School. It was the only choice we were left with because young children’s immune systems are weaker than adults, making them more vulnerable to respiratory infections. Air pollution also causes both immediate and long-term health effects in young children including affecting their brains which may even lead to autism and lower IQ. But closing the schools is not the solution! The root cause needs to be addressed judiciously. We may be protecting our children from environmental pollution but what about the irreversible damage caused by restricting their social interaction and holistic development by not sending them to school? Health Without Harm Is Their Right! Parents must now ensure that children Eat Right To Breathe Right! Along with this, they must manage outdoor playtime of their children, ensure that they wear a masks, help develop their immunity and most importantly enable them to stay active and regularly exercise at home. Also, increase the number of appropriate indoor plants for air purification. While these precautions can significantly help reduce our children's exposure to pollution, these are only short term measures. Let us pledge to be a part of the solution and not the problem because change begins with us.

R. L. Saroha, M D, Paramount International School

In the wake of rising pollution levels, all schools have been physically closed. On one hand it is important from the point of view of impending health concerns, but it can also not be denied that such abrupt closures also hamstring learning outcomes. Of course, we respect the decision taken by authorities and plan on conducting online classes to ensure that there is no learning loss for children. However, it is high time that the government authorities should consider some concerted efforts to address this recurring problem. It is very important that we take pollution seriously and find a long-term solution to this global crisis. Only then can we provide our future generations a safe and healthy environment to thrive.

Meneka I. Singh, Head of School, St. Thomas’ School, Dwarka

In view of the worsening air quality in Delhi, the Delhi Government has taken the decision to close the primary schools for a few days which in my view is not a very welcomed decision as we have seen in corona times that staying at home for longer periods has hampered the learning of the kids in the very productive early years. Children also spend too much time watching TV or mobiles which affect their health. Government should get prepared beforehand for the pollution in city in winter season due for various reasons. I feel when government is not able to handle the situation then they just put certain restrictions to show that they are taking measures while the measures should have taken longback.
Dr. Suman Mittal
Founder and Educator, Aroons Brain Gym- chain of Preschools

The overall air pollution levels continue to remain in critical category in Delhi. Dwarka Sub City in capital is also badly affected with an AQI of more than 400. The clement weather conditions, coupled with other factors like vehicular emissions, fire crackers and various local sources of pollution collectively contribute to air pollution. Therefore, it is our moral duty to contribute in reducing the AQI. I think using public transport or car-pooling systems are sure to contribute to less air pollution as fewer vehicles on roads means lesser emissions. Secondly, the use of crackers during festivals and weddings is also one of the major contributors to air pollution, leading to a layer of smog which is extremely harmful for health. So, let us practice 'No crackers policy'. Also, the construction and demolition sites are another source of air pollution. People living near these sites experience various health concerns like difficulty in breathing, irritation in the eyes, nose, and throat, etc. Therefore, the construction and demolition activities should be avoided for the time being or if not possible then discipline be brought in.
A S Chhatwal, Dwarka


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