Parents Opinion Divided Over Shut Down Of Schools Amid Worsening Air Quality In Delhi

As a blanket of smog engulfs the national capital Delhi, demand has grown to shut schools in view of the health of children.

The air quality index (AQI) in the Delhi-NCR region has continued to remain under the “severe” category, according to the data from the Central Pollution Control Board.

 The AQI stood at more than 450 in several areas in the city and the reading above 400 affects healthy people, with serious impacts on those with existing diseases.

Expressing concern over the deteriorating air quality in Delhi, author and socialite Suhel Seth wrote,”What is happening with air pollution in Delhi is nothing short of a crime against humanity!”

As per Central Pollution Control Board, the air quality in Delhi has deteriorated in the last few days and so the Delhi government has asked to shut schools till air quality improves.

On the other hand, parents and environmentalists on social media demanded schools be closed.

“I know children don’t vote for you, but still, requesting all the chief ministers of Delhi (capital region) to immediately SHUTDOWN all the schools,” environmental activist Vimlendu Jha wrote on Twitter. “It’s not NORMAL to breathe 500 AQI, not for our children, where every third child already has some pulmonary challenge.”

Several parents in Delhi have supported the proposal to shut down schools in the capital amid worsening air quality here while others have opposed it, fearing another hit to studies already impacted by the Covid pandemic.

 The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked the Delhi government to shut schools till air quality in the national capital improves.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo has also urged the delhi government to consider shutting schools in the interest of the children, as per a PTI report.

The national capital’s air quality has deteriorated to ‘severe’ in the last few days, according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data.

 Some parents have also urged the Delhi government to extend the school timings in view of the pollution.

 Delhi Parents’ Association president Aparajita Gautam said, “The majority of parents want that schools should be shut down as children are getting affected (due to the pollution), and extending the timings also won’t help. The government should take measure to bring down the pollution in meantime.”

However, other parents said school closure will create problems for the children. “There is no need to shutdown schools so soon. The studies of the children suffered a lot during the lockdown.

The Class 10 boards are approaching. Closing of schools will be a problem for students,” said Ramesh, a parent of two.

 Another parent, Sunita (40), said the government should extend the school timings. “The pollution is rising and air quality is worsening, kids cannot breathe. At least they can delay the school timings so that the children can breathe properly, she said.

Another parent suggested that children who have their board exams can keep coming to school for a limited period of time while the juniors can stay at home. “Today, the air seems very polluted.

 It is for the government to decide whether children come to school in this condition right now. It’s for government to decide,” Rammohan, a resident of Lajpat Nagar said. “The right decision would be that children who have their boards can keep going to school for a limited period and the younger ones can stay at home as it’s important to protect them from pollution,” he added.

Additionally, the Delhi BJP has also raised similar demand. “Children are being affected the most with pollution reaching very severe levels.

Sending children in open fields or outside the house in such severe pollution is making them sick,” Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta wrote a letter to Lt Governor VK Saxena.

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