As the smog enveloped the city, parents from Delhi-NCR got together to demand action from the government – including temporary solutions like shutting schools for a few days.
While the Delhi government has asked that primary schools be shut and outdoor activities for older children be temporarily suspended, a handful of parents told The Quint that they want much more stringent measures to be taken.
According to research, pollution has resulted in the lungs of one in every three Delhi children being compromised, with the rising levels affecting foetuses too. Parents say they feel helpless, knowing that the future generations will have to bear the brunt while the present generation does nothing to check pollution.
One of the mothers, who gathered at the Directorate of Education on 7 November, told The Quint: “Last year, we thought Kejriwal will do something so that we don’t face this again, but here we are. I’m always looking for boarding school options to send my kids out of Delhi. I can’t keep putting them through this every winter. They love to play outdoors, and it’s not fair that we have to keep them inside. What about the kids who are on the streets and can’t do anything to protect themselves?”
Explaining what the pollution does to kids and how their lungs are permanently damaged, another parent rued:
Two-three months of the year, our children are coughing, they’re not able to eat or sleep properly because of that. So many children are on nebulisers. My son was playing the other day and he said to me “Mumma, I’m nebulising my toy,” and it broke my heart that kids have taken it for granted that they have to use masks and inhalers to breathe properly.
Parents say that besides individual measures, they want the government to address the issue seriously because things have already reached a state of emergency.