- Schools to remain closed every Friday and Saturday, in addition to Sunday
The Government of Punjab announced on Wednesday the closure of schools across Lahore for three days a week due to smog and worsening air quality, Aaj News reported.
The notification by the provincial government said that all public and private schools in District Lahore shall remain closed every Friday and Saturday, in addition to the weekly holiday on Sunday till further orders.
On Tuesday, the Lahore High Court (LHC) had directed the government to notify the closure of schools in the provincial capital for at least three days a week.
Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi has termed the smog a “calamity”, and said that action should be taken to control the factors that caused it.
On Wednesday, the air quality index (AQI) of Lahore was 265 (very unhealthy) while on Tuesday, it was at 284 (very unhealthy).
Air quality in Lahore usually worsens during the winter season from October to February, due to a combination of vehicle and industrial emissions, smoke from brick kilns, the burning of crop residue and general waste, and dust from construction sites.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department recently revealed that the country’s next major and extreme environmental challenge will be smog.
A report by International Growth Centre and Consortium for Development Policy Research shows that air pollution has remained number two in the last decade among major risk factors that drive most deaths and disability combined for Pakistan after malnutrition.
Exposure to high level of air pollutants such as PM 2.5 not only has health-related consequences, but also non-health consequences, and how the poor are much more vulnerable.
Last year in December, the Punjab government has lodged 2,970 FIRs, sealed 797 industrial units abd imposed fines worth Rs4.48 million on those involved in stubble burning besides imposing over Rs10 million to the owners of brick kilns to control smog in the city