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HomeIndiaMajority of parents in Delhi-NCR want annual ‘smog break’ in schools: Survey

Majority of parents in Delhi-NCR want annual ‘smog break’ in schools: Survey

At least 74 per cent of respondents surveyed by advocacy group wanted scheduled holidays when the capital’s pollution levels are at its worst.

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New Delhi: Most parents in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) want schools to schedule a ‘smog break’ in the first two weeks of November every year, when severe levels of toxic pollution has become an annual feature of the capital city. 

A survey conducted by LocalCircles, an advocacy group, among 8,762 residents of Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Faridabad found that parents now want a scheduled annual ‘smog break’ — similar to winter and summer breaks.

The poll, conducted from 11 November to 15 November, found that about 74 per cent of the respondents agreed that schools in Delhi-NCR should ensure a break between 1 November and 20 November. 

According to the survey, parents also said the number of holidays in the smog break could be compensated with reduction of leaves from the summer, winter and spring break combined. 

In a statement, LocalCircles said that the number of parents calling for a smog break had increased from 55 per cent in 2017. 

This year, as the AQI crossed the 500 mark, schools in Delhi had been shut down to minimise the adverse health effects of severe pollution on children. 

The Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), to deal with pollution in NCR, had thrice ordered the closure of schools between 1 November and 17 November, meaning schools were operational for only five days in this period. 

Also read: How air pollution has become a big factor in Indians’ decision to work in Delhi

The Delhi smog

Winter smog has become an annual occurrence in Delhi, with some experts blaming smoke from stubble burning in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana as the major contributor. 

While Delhi air is polluted throughout the year, adverse meteorological conditions cause a thick smog to last for days in the city, leading to respiratory problems. 

Such high levels of pollution is especially damaging to young people as their lungs are still developing. Any damage may lead to reduced lung function, worsening asthmatic conditions, and higher risk of heart attacks and strokes in later life.

Chronic exposure to air pollution is also linked to brain cancer, according to a recent study

Also read: Light showers bring no respite, take Delhi’s toxic smog to season’s worst


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