LAHORE: Hinting at ordering the closure of schools for three days and work from home for two days in a week, the Lahore High Court on Friday sought suggestions from the Punjab government to control the rising smog.

Justice Shahid Karim observed that the provincial government seemed non-serious to curb smog. He regretted that the smog had been increasing instead of being eliminated.

The judge was hearing public interest petitions on several issues relating to the environment.

The judge directed the Enviro­n­ment Protection Agency (EPA) to make rules to enhance punishment on the brick kilns and industries for violating the laws and policies.

“A brick kiln or a factory sho­uld not be sealed, rather demoli­shed on committing violations,” the judge recommended the agency.

Seek Sherry’s support

Justice Karim also advised the Punjab government to seek support from federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman.

“Tell the federal government that smog in Punjab has reached an alarming level,” he advised the Punjab government representative.

The judge observed that the authorities also needed to seek assistance from the international experts of the environment.

He sought a compliance report from Punjab environment secretary about penalties on the violators and directed the secretary to coordinate with the relevant ministries and come up with recommendations on closing schools for three days and working from home for two days in a week.

He also sought a report on the amendment or improvement in the existing rules to deal with the industrial sector.

While observing that smog has been causing health complications, Justice Karim said the court would pass an order in light of the input by the ministries concerned.

The hearing was later adjourned till next week.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2022

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