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Friday, July 19, 2024  
12 Muharram 1446  

Smog prompts Punjab to close schools, offices in six districts from Nov 9 to 12

Markets are to be closed on Saturday and Sunday
School students return home as heavy smog envelops Lahore. AFP
School students return home as heavy smog envelops Lahore. AFP

Caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab Mohsin Naqvi has announced four weekly holidays for education institutions and two holidays for businesses and public offices in the province amid deteriorating conditions in the province due to smog.

“The education institutions will remain closed from Thursday to Sunday while markets will be closed on Saturday and Sunday,” he told reporters in Lahore during the press briefing on Tuesday.

CM Naqvi blamed the burning of crop waste in India for the deteriorating environmental conditions of the province.

“We also burn the crop waste. But compared to ours, India’s quantity of burning waste is four times more. It is not only affecting them but also has a serious impact on us,” he said.

The schools already remain shut on Saturdays and Sundays, he said, adding that if a school isn’t closed this Saturday, then they will be asked to remain shut.

“Today, we will notify business holiday for offices and schools on November 10 in Lahore division, Gujranwala, Wazirabad, Kasur, Nankana Sahib districts and Hafizabad while November 9 has already been declared a public holiday,” CM Naqvi said.

He went on to add that restaurants and cinemas will be closed from Friday till Sunday along all kinds of parks during the three days of the week.

However, bakeries, pharmacies, and marriage laws will remain open.

Following the severely polluted air and smog in the second biggest city of Pakistan, Lahore, the cases of asthma have increased to an average of ten thousand cases daily.

Lahore, the second largest city in Pakistan, is currently ranked second on the list of the most polluted cities in the world.

According to the report issued by the Air Quality Index, Lahore’s air is dangerously harmful to health, with 281 particulate meters recorded in its air pollution.

It is pertinent to mention that the Provincial Disaster Management Authority of Punjab has declared smog as “Calamity” in the province.

“All the activities causing or leading to smog formation have been banned across the province. The Deputy Commissioners have been delegated the powers of the Relief Commissioner to take all necessary measures to control and mitigate smog,” the PDMA stated in a letter on November 1.

On the same day, the provincial government of Punjab declared a smog emergency in the province.

However, the government emphasised that the closure of schools and transportation would not be sufficient to combat the condition.

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