The Punjab government has decided that all public and private schools in Lahore will remain closed for three days a week from 27 November till 15 January 2022 due to worsening smog situation in the megacity, reported Aaj News on Monday.
During the week, schools in the city will remain closed on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
Lahore, a city of more than 11 million people in Punjab province near the border with India, consistently ranks among the worst cities in the world for air pollution.
The provincial government has come under increasing pressure over its failure to deal with the issue.
Last week, Lahore was declared the most polluted city in the world by an air quality monitor as residents choking in acrid smog pleaded with officials to take action. Lahore had an air quality ranking of 348, well over the hazardous level of 300, according to IQAir, the Swiss technology company that operates the AirVisual monitoring platform.
Air pollution has worsened in Pakistan in recent years, as a mixture of low-grade diesel fumes, smoke from seasonal crop burn off, and colder winter temperatures coalesce into stagnant clouds of smog.
Earlier, Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar declared smog a calamity in the province. He announced that any violation of the ban on burning solid waste would not be tolerated and action would be initiated against concerned officials of waste management companies over any incident of burning the trash.
The CM directed to take effective action against those responsible for burning the stubble. The environment protection department, agriculture, industries, transport and officials of the administration should personally monitor anti-smog measures in the field, he mentioned.