Greenpeace: Close Delhi schools due to air pollution

New Delhi has earned the dubious distinction of being the world's dirtiest city, surpassing Beijing, once the poster child for air pollution. (Tsering Topgyal, AP)
New Delhi has earned the dubious distinction of being the world's dirtiest city, surpassing Beijing, once the poster child for air pollution. (Tsering Topgyal, AP)

New Delhi - Greenpeace on Thursday urged schools in the Indian capital to shut down temporarily, arguing that current air pollution levels were a danger to children - even indoors.

"The alarmingly high levels of pollution in Delhi would suggest the need to take urgent action such as shutting down schools," Greenpeace India campaigner Sunil Dahiya said upon releasing new data on indoor air quality.

Current air quality levels are five times over Indian safety limits and 11 times those of the World Health Organisation, according to the group, which monitored indoor air quality in seven schools across Delhi over a period of seven days.

Greenpeace said the results of its study showed that real time monitoring of data and urgent responses to the public health crisis needed to be set in motion in India.

"The availability of reliable, real time data via the National Air Quality Index is a critical first step, and must be followed by clear health advisories and response protocols," Dahiya said.

According to WHO data from 2014, Delhi was the most polluted city in the world with an average PM2.5 level of 153 micrograms per cubic metre.

According to the data collected by Greenpeace India the average PM2.5 level during the week monitored was around 291 inside the classrooms.

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