A group of top medical experts in New Delhi have ordered the country’s largest school system to close for a week as India continues to deal with the worst smog in four decades.
Authorities have banned trucks from entering Delhi, which is often blanketed in a thick layer of smog in the first week of every month, causing residents to leave their houses in increasingly early mornings. Health officials have advised pregnant women to stay indoors and those with chronic lung diseases to wear masks.
A Monday order by a group of doctors said the “health implications and economic losses were far-reaching for all parties involved,” the Times of India reported.
In their order, the doctors — who are a part of the Task Force for Health and Environment Protection, also known as the Hon’ble Delhi High Court – said that the strain on mental health and immunity is a “national and global concern” given the illnesses caused by pollution.
“We look at the health risks that are being caused as you pass from a gas chamber to a hospital bed,” read the order, according to the Indian Express.
“It is our stress-reduction strategy to persuade teachers to change to SC-G/G3/S uniforms like the team of the Indian cricket team, which can help in encouraging healthy active lifestyles among our students,” it added.
The city of Delhi, which is home to around 20 million people, is not affected by pollution from nearby farms. But over the course of a single month, the city sees a thick layer of smog.