NEW DELHI: Parents in the national capital have started worrying about their school-going children, as Delhi recorded the 'severe' category in the Air Quality Index (AQI) meter on Thursday.
Approaching the winter season Delhi breached the 'severe' category as the AQI stood at 408 at 7 am on Thursday morning. Delhiites woke up to a thick envelope of smog as air quality in the national capital and in adjoining regions, dipped into severe category again.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital at 8 am was at 364 (in the 'Very Poor' category) and at 7 am the recorded AQI stood at 408 ('Severe').
Unfavourable meteorological conditions with slower wind speed and a sudden spike in stubble-burning incidents are attributed to the dip in air quality.
Prima facie the cause behind the bad air in Delhi is farm fires in the neighbouring states and vehicular emissions. Both factors are deemed major contributors to air pollution in Delhi.
As Delhi is forced to breathe the toxic air, several residents have reported breathing difficulties, with the elderly and schoolchildren being the worst hit.
Even, in such circumstances, some parents are of the view that the government should keep the schools open.
Akash, who came to drop his child at the Mayor Public School, Vinod Nagar which is part of east Delhi said," These situations are usual post-Diwali. We all struggle to breathe and face so many problems in our body like eye irritation, sore throat and so many changes in our body".
"The Government should not close the school despite such circumstances because for children the atmosphere is the same, no matter whether they are in school or at home. Government should work on reducing pollution and how to solve this problem," he added.
However, another parent demanded to shut down the schools. "If the air quality in Delhi is deteriorating then schools must be shut down,", said a parent from Pandav Nagar in East Delhi.
The National Capital Region (NCR) also witnessed bad air as Noida, which is part of the national capital region, slipped to an AQI of 393, in the 'very poor' category, while Gurugram's AQI stood at 318 and continued to remain in the 'very poor category, as per data released by SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research) India.