Schools in India’s capital New Delhi will reopen on Monday after closing for two days due to a spike in pollution levels, but air quality is likely to remain “very poor” — a notch below the most hazardous “severe” rating — raising health risks for millions of students.
As a thick cover of toxic smog wrapped New Delhi’s 20 million residents on Friday, government pollution monitor SAFAR showed air quality index in the capital was at 540, indicating “severe” conditions, and relief was unlikely in the next 24 hours.
By Monday, Delhi’s air quality would likely remain “very poor”, SAFAR said, indicating prolonged exposure could lead to respiratory illness.
The city government of Delhi had imposed a two-day shutdown on schools for a second time this month after pollution control authorities declared a public health emergency.
For 32-year old Shamin Qureshi and his 10-year old daughter Akshara, a challenging week lies ahead.
“We have no choice but to send her back to school with her inhaler and medicines,” Qureshi said.