However, in a bizarre decision, schoolchildren in India’s capital were made to run a marathon organised by the non-governmental organisation "Prayas" on Thursday as part of the “Children’s Day” celebration that takes place every year on 14 November in India.
Children’s Day (14 November) marks the birthday of India’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru who was known for his fondness of children.
After some short-lived relief, Delhi’s air quality has once again deteriorated to a national health emergency.
India's Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has advised residents, especially children, to stay indoors in order to avoid outdoor exposure in the wake of rising air pollution in the national capital.
On Thursday morning, the AQI level (Air Quality Index) in the Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) was measured at 472 (severe). At several localities across the NCR, the AQI crossed the 500-mark, putting the regions in the “severe plus” air quality category.
Despite the poor air quality, children in New Delhi were made to run a marathon to celebrate Children's Day.
Pictures of some schoolchildren who were made to participate in a “Run for Children” event despite the capital being covered with thick smoke drew the attention of many netizens.
This is brutal. How little we care about the health of our children. The organisers must be booked. https://t.co/eN0o73gxXl— Kiran Manral (@KiranManral) November 14, 2019
The organizers should be arrested for this. Making small children run in Delhi at a time when schools are closed due to severe air pollution and even grown up adults are struggling to breathe. https://t.co/oZOozwhwDC— Doctor Roshan R (@pythoroshan) November 14, 2019
While Schools across NCR are closed due to Pollution & Air Quality Index levels are hazardous. Who is putting life of these Kids in danger! https://t.co/aBGscPSz1L— प्रशान्त पटेल उमराव (@ippatel) November 14, 2019
People are not going for their morning walks , here some Stupid on Nehru's Bday putting kids at risk https://t.co/4uph616H1j— Upma (@upma23) November 14, 2019
In this polution, when schools are shut, children made to run early morning. The organisers and school principals who sent children should be taken to task https://t.co/BVd0ooO0RV— Snehesh Alex Philip (@sneheshphilip) November 14, 2019
India's capital city, which was declared the world's most polluted in a survey by a Greenpeace India report in March this year, is once again in the grip of its annual winter pollution crisis, and the rising prominence of particulate matter (PM) from various sources has long been a public health scourge. The anti-pollution body also ordered industries using coal and other such fuels and hot mix plants to remain closed until Friday.
To tackle the rising pollution in the city, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal recently launched a traffic rationing scheme called "Odd-Even”, which mandates private cars with license plate numbers ending in odd digits to stay off the roads on even dates and vice-versa until 15 November.