Focus Corner

Delhi’s School Shutdown: Battling Air Pollution for Child Safety

Exploring the Measures to Protect Children and Long-Term Air Quality Solutions

Imagine waking up as a child in Delhi, peering out your window, and being greeted not by clear skies but by a thick shroud of smog. The air is heavy, making each breath a struggle, and you can’t help but cough and sneeze. You long to attend school, play with friends, and live a normal life, but the air is so polluted that it poses a serious threat to your health. This is the harsh reality for many children in Delhi, a city consistently ranked among the most polluted in the world.

Air quality is measured using the Air Quality Index (AQI), a numeric indicator that assesses how clean or polluted the air is. The higher the AQI number, the worse the air quality. This past Sunday, Delhi’s AQI reached a staggering 460, a level considered very high and dangerous for health. The primary culprits of air pollution in Delhi include emissions from vehicles, factories, and agricultural operations, as well as dust from construction and waste disposal. The consequences of such pollution are far-reaching, from respiratory problems to allergies, infections, and even cancer risk.

In response to this dire situation, the Delhi Education Minister, Atishi, has taken a crucial step to protect the city’s children. She has announced the temporary closure of all primary schools in Delhi until November 10. For older students, there is the option of continuing their education online. In this article, we’ll delve into the reasons behind this decision and explore what measures can be taken to improve Delhi’s air quality.

Children are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of air pollution due to their developing bodies. Pollution can adversely affect their lungs, brain development, and immune systems, resulting in illness and weakened health. It can even have long-term consequences, impacting their cognitive abilities and overall well-being. Therefore, closing primary schools is a prudent measure to reduce children’s exposure to polluted air, ensuring their safety and health.

However, some argue that school closures alone won’t suffice. They believe the government should take more extensive actions to combat air pollution, such as imposing vehicle restrictions, fines on polluters, or shutting down factories. While these suggestions may seem appealing, implementing them is complex and may lead to unintended consequences, including economic losses, public backlash, or legal challenges.

Moreover, these measures may need to address the root causes of air pollution, such as crop burning in neighbouring states, inadequate public transportation, and ineffective waste management. Consequently, closing schools is a short-term solution that offers temporary relief to children, but it needs to address the long-term challenges posed by air pollution.

The decision to close primary schools in Delhi until November 10 is a necessary response to the city’s hazardous air quality. This action is vital because children are more susceptible to the adverse effects of pollution compared to adults. While closing schools provides short-term protection, it’s imperative to seek comprehensive and enduring solutions for improving Delhi’s air quality. To achieve this, government, society, and individuals must collaborate to reduce pollution, enhance transportation systems, and transition to cleaner and sustainable energy sources.

As former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon once said, “Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth… these are the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security, and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.

Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma is a seasoned Political Journalist with a deep passion for Indian Politics. With over a decade of experience in the field, he has established himself as a trusted… More »

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