Smog forces closure of schools three days a week across Lahore

Published December 7, 2022
Students (L) wait for transport alongside a road amid heavy smog conditions in Lahore on Wednesday. — AFP
Students (L) wait for transport alongside a road amid heavy smog conditions in Lahore on Wednesday. — AFP

The Punjab government has announced the closure of schools three days a week across Lahore in view of aggravated levels of smog.

A notification to this effect was issued last night by the provincial government.

“In compliance with the directions of honourable Lahore High Court, Lahore, in writ petition No. 227807/ 2018 vide order dated 02-12-2022, it is notified that owing to prevailing SMOG condition, all Public & Private Schools in District Lahore shall remain closed on every Friday & Saturday, in addition to the weekly holiday on Sunday till further orders,” reads the notification, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com.

Commuters make their way along a road amid heavy smog conditions in Lahore on Wednesday. — AFP
Commuters make their way along a road amid heavy smog conditions in Lahore on Wednesday. — AFP

The Lahore High Court had on Tuesday asked the government to notify the closure of schools in the provincial capital for at least three days a week.

Justice Shahid Karim of the LHC had passed the order while hearing public interest petitions on several issues related to the environment.

The LHC judge had directed a provincial law officer to submit the notification regarding the schools’ closure in the court on Wednesday (today).

In compliance with the court orders, the Punjab’s School Education Department issued a notification late Tuesday whose copy was also submitted before the LHC bench today.

A man rides his bicycle along a road amid heavy smog conditions in Lahore on Wednesday. — AFP
A man rides his bicycle along a road amid heavy smog conditions in Lahore on Wednesday. — AFP

Meanwhile, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority also issued a notification, announcing closure of private offices two days a week (Friday and Saturday) in the provincial capital.

The order will remain in force from Dec 7 till January 15. The notification added that staffers may work from home during the said period.

Terming the smog a “calamity”, Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi had ordered the effective implementation of a plan designed to reduce smog in the province and said that action should be taken to control the factors that caused it.

The Environment Protec­tion Department (EPD), transport, and industries departments in liaison with administrative officers should go in the field, the CM said, adding that any failure to implement the ongoing SOPs to reduce smog will not be tolerated.

He had said that “indiscriminate action” should be taken against those who set fire to crop residues — a practice banned across the province.

Last week, the judge had observed that the government failed to control smog and directed the Environment Protection Agency to make rules to enhance punishment on the brick kilns and industries for violating the laws and policies. Justice Karim noted that smog had been causing health complications among the citizens, especially children, and senior citizens.

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