Air quality so bad that schools remained shut on Children’s Day in Delhi
Things turned from irony into the theatre of absurd when children in Delhi were made to run a marathon to celebrate Children's Day.
Irony finds different ways to slip into our lives, and today it managed to do just that. On 14th November, on Children's Day, schools remained shut in Delhi-NCR with all the usual events cancelled.
The Supreme Court-mandated anti-pollution authority EPCA on Wednesday ordered the closure of schools in Delhi-NCR for the next two days as pollution in the region hovered close to emergency levels. On Thursday, Air Quality Index continued to remain over 500 (which is ‘hazardous’) in at least five neighbourhoods in the city. The scale usually has a range up to 500, to put things into perspective.
Things turned from irony into the theatre of the absurd when children in Delhi were made to run a marathon to celebrate Children's Day. The marathon, called 'Run for Children' was organised by a city-based, non-governmental organisation 'Prayas'. Photos from the run show hundreds of children running on Vinay Marg in Chanakyapuri.
Earlier in the month, the Delhi government had released a health advisory to help citizens cope with the pollution. Health minister Satyender Jain had asked people to avoid the outdoors as much as possible.
To bring out children at a time when PM 2.5 levels were as high as 322 and PM 10 levels at 487 (as of 8.30 am on Thursday) is nothing short of a violation and a cruel joke.
However, this is not the first marathon run this smog season.
On October 31, when AQI in Delhi was "severe", children and adults alike were made to ‘Run for Unity’ to celebrate Rashtriya Ekta Diwas. Union ministers like Amit Shah and Piyush Goyal were part of such events held in the national capital to celebrate the 144th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhai Patel.