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Friday, July 19, 2024  
13 Muharram 1446  

Punjab govt decides against Wednesday holiday this week

CM Punjab directs action against smoke-emitting factories
This 2019 file photo shows commuters on a road in Lahore amid smog. — AFP
This 2019 file photo shows commuters on a road in Lahore amid smog. — AFP

The caretaker government of Punjab has decided to defer its plan of announcing a holiday on Wednesday of this week amid improvement in the air quality index.

Chief Minister of Punjab Mohsin Naqvi on Monday chaired a special meeting to discuss the prevention of smog in the province.

During the meeting, it was agreed not to have a holiday on Wednesday based on the improvement in air quality index.

Provincial ministers, the inspector general of Punjab, and other officials participated in the special meeting.

Read: Schools are not closed on Wednesday, says Punjab’s interim education minister

Naqvi directed the IG of Punjab and the secretary of transport to continue the crackdown against vehicles emitting smoke.

The CM of Punjab said that indiscriminate action should be continued against the brick kilns and factories that cause smog. He also ordered the commissioners and deputy commissioners to take swift action against those who burn crop remains and sell substandard fuel.

Why Wednesday?

The rationale behind the closure of schools on Wednesday was to break the cycle of high air quality index level, caretaker Minister of Planning and Development, Forrest Wildlife and Fisheries & Environmental Protection Bilal Afzal said.

“When we see the historic trend, our AQI level starts to increase on Monday and it rises to its maximum till Friday. It falls the next two days due to day offs. We thought that if AQI reaches a hazardous level then we will bring this day off on Wednesday to break its peak,” he said.

Afzal added that the transport contributed 45% to the smog, making it the biggest contributor to the pollution.

“If this 45% rate gets a day to decimate then our AQI level does not go on that level that’s why the cabinet committee on smog will meet every week to see when we have to have taken that break so that our AQI level does not go on hazardous level,” the minister said.

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