The interim Chief Minister of Punjab, Pakistan, Mohsin Naqvi, has announced a proactive response to the severe smog plaguing the province. In an attempt to address the hazardous air quality, educational institutions and offices throughout Punjab will be closed on Saturday, November 18.
This decision follows a directive from the Lahore High Court, which mandated the closure of schools on Saturdays, citing the government’s perceived failure in smog control. The air quality, gauged by PM 2.5 (minute particulate matter), has risen to unhealthy levels, reaching 195, with a hazardous peak of 400 recorded during the week.
Lahore, the second-largest city in the country with a population of 11 million, consistently ranks among the world’s most polluted cities. Residents are advised to stay indoors, wear masks, and many are grappling with respiratory difficulties.
Chief Minister Naqvi highlighted that 90% of the crop burning contributing to smog occurs in winter, with only 10% happening in Pakistan. To address this issue, the government plans to assist farmers in obtaining modern machinery.
Naqvi outlined additional measures aimed at curbing smog, underscoring a commitment to alleviate the environmental and health impacts of this pervasive problem in the region.