Authorities in Delhi, the capital of India, today (Wednesday) ordered the immediate closure of all educational institutions due to the severe air pollution that has plagued the area in recent days, but the central government has announced that it opposes working from home and has recommended workers use public transport.
A combination of polluting gases from the industry, dust, smoke from the crop burning and remnants from the Diwali fireworks more than ten days ago, in addition to weak winds trapping the particles in the low atmosphere, exacerbated air pollution typical of early winter. The level of air pollution is around 400 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter which is considered dangerous according to the ranking of the World Health Organization.
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This week the Supreme Court of India ruled that workers should be ordered to work from home and ordered the central government and local governments of the countries adjacent to Delhi to take further steps. The Delhi Air Quality Committee today decided on the immediate closure of all educational institutions, and in addition decided to suspend construction work until November 21, to close six of the 11 coal-based power plants and to ban trucks from entering Delhi and neighboring countries – Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, The Rihanna and Rajasthan, besides trucks carrying essential goods.
The committee also recommended that private offices halve the number of employees arriving at offices to reduce pollution from cars. However, the central government announced that it did not support the transition to work from home and instead recommended that public sector workers travel together in cars. Indian Transport Minister Kailesh Gahlot also called on residents to switch to public transport and said the government would hire a thousand private buses.