As air quality in the National Capital plummet in the ‘severe category’ ever year in the month of November, over 70 per cent parents in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) believe there should be a scheduled “smog break” in schools from November 1-20 every year.
The survey with nearly 10,000 respondents from Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) has also found that parents want that leaves of the smog break could be compensated with reduction of leaves from the summer, winter and spring breaks combined to ensure the study calendar is not affected.
“74 per cent parents from Delhi, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Noida and Gurugram want there should be a scheduled smog break from November 1-20 every year when the air quality is at its worse,” according to findings of the survey done by online platform “LocalCircles”.
“Raising concerns about how frequent breaks could affect the syllabus and activity calendar in schools, parents suggested that the leaves of smog break could be compensated with reduction in other annual breaks,” the survey report said.
As the air pollution neared the emergency level on November 1, the Supreme Court-mandated panel Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) declared a public health emergency and the administration ordered closure of schools till November 5. Last month as well, schools had to be closed for four days after air quality levels hovered around the “emergency” level.
While schools mandated parents to send their children wearing masks to schools, outdoor activities remained suspended. Few private schools also installed air purifiers to ensure students were not affected.
The Children’s day celebrations scheduled on November 14 had also to be called off as schools were closed on the day. Students and few school principals wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention into the issue.
In a similar survey, earlier this month, over 40 per cent residents of Delhi and NCR had said they want to move to another city because of bad air quality while 16 per cent wanted to travel during the period.
When asked, how the pollution affected them and their family in the past week, 13 per cent respondents said one or more of them have visited a hospital already while 29 per cent said one or more of them have visited a doctor already.
It may be noted that over 40 per cent residents of Delhi and NCR express their willingness to move to another city because of bad air quality in the national Capital while 16 per cent want to travel during the period.
The survey with over 17,000 respondents from Delhi and NCR region had found that 13 per cent resident believe that they have no option but to cope with rising pollution levels.