Punjab govt orders school and business closures to reduce smog

Punjab govt orders school and business closures to reduce smog

Punjab government orders to close school and business closures to reduce smog. The Punjab government announced Monday that all private workplaces and educational institutions in Lahore will be closed on Mondays, in addition to the weekly vacations held on Saturdays and Sundays until January 15.

The instruction, issued by Punjab Relief Commissioner Babar Hayat Tarar, is intended to act “as a preventive and expeditious remedy” to ensure “public safety, life conservation, and to preempt and alleviate the impending threat of smog in the province of Punjab,” the order adds.

The order, which is effective within the Lahore Metropolitan Corporation’s territorial limits, also cites evidence of “persistent deterioration in the city of Lahore’s Air Quality Index, which fluctuates between satisfactory and poor levels, and is likely to cause breathing discomfort, respiratory tract diseases, and heart diseases” as a significant reason for the decision.

Continue reading: ‘We feared he had Covid, but it turned out to be smog’: Life in a polluted Lahore.

The action comes days after Lahore was named the world’s most polluted city after air quality readings deteriorated.

Smog arises when smoke and fog combine. While air pollution is a constant problem in the majority of Pakistan’s urban areas, contaminates in the air in Punjab spike every October and November as farmers burn rice stalks or stubble leftover from harvesting to prepare their fields for wheat planting.

Lahore, which is surrounded by rice-growing districts, is blanketed in dense haze during these cooler months.

Read more with EL news : PM Imran has instructed provinces to verify land records within two months

The court directs action.
Last week, the Lahore High Court (LHC) directed the Punjab government to issue a notification ordering private offices in Lahore to half their employee attendance to combat smog.

Justice Shahid Karim delivered the directions during a hearing on the provincial government’s failure to address environmental issues appropriately.

The Judicial Water and Environmental Commission advised during the hearing that schools in smoggy areas be closed. The court, however, disagreed.

Justice Karim ordered the provincial government to establish a pollution cell at the Punjab Disaster Management Authority’s headquarters (PDMA). Additionally, the court requested a traffic plan and urged officials to develop an emergency helpline for individuals to call to report traffic problems.

According to the commission’s smog emergency plan, the PDMA will monitor stubble burning daily and share a thermal anomalies map with the district administration and agriculture department.

“The chairman of the commission […] directed that if an area’s Air Quality Index (AQI) reaches 400, a notification shall be issued through the education department instructing schools to close or conduct online lessons, as the case may be,” the report stated.

The AQI is a statistic that governments use to notify the public about the air quality. The higher the AQI value, the more polluted the air is and the greater the health risk. AQI levels of 100 or less are considered to be good. Above that point, it is deemed unhealthy.

“The commission chairman has directed that if the AQI for a particular location surpasses 500AQI, all activities conducted by the associated industries must cease. According to the report, the volume of traffic in areas with a high AQI will be lowered to 50% using the odd and even numbers technique, which will be enforced by the local police and traffic police “.

Additionally, the report noted that the Environment Protection Agency visited 4,761 brick kilns across the province and fined them Rs35.9 million. Additionally, 797 charges were filed, 22 individuals were detained, and 274 kilns were sealed.

According to the report, the transportation department inspected 3,075 vehicles and issued warnings to 324 while challaning 921 for releasing smoke.

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