LAHORE: The Punjab government on Friday lifted all types of smog-related restrictions in the province after a considerable improvement in air quality and allowed to open markets, restaurants, institutions and businesses.

Last week, the government had imposed a smart lockdown in six divisions of the province due to the worsening smog situation after declaring smog a calamity and a serious and imminent threat to public health.

The lockdown was imposed in Lahore, Gujranwala, Multan, Sargodha, Faisalabad and Sahiwal divisions, which have the highest Air Quality Index (AQI) and are potential hotspots for conjunctivitis due to smog. However, the city air quality has improved considerably after light rain.

According to the Air Quality Index, the pollution level in the city improved and was 180 at the time of filing this report at 8pm. However, the air quality was still far from satisfactory and posed health risks for the residents.

Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi presided over a meeting of the cabinet committee for the eradication of smog at his office on Friday to review the current situation.

The meeting included discussions with environmental and health experts who provided suggestions to combat smog and its harmful effects.

After a detailed deliberation, the CM announced that smog-related restrictions were being ended and markets, restaurants, institutions and businesses will remain open on Friday and Saturday.

Additionally, winter vacation for educational institutions will start on Dec 18.

The CM directed the administration, LWMC and the PHA to continue road cleaning and water sprinkling. He also ordered a crackdown on smog-emitting vehicles and tyre-burning factories.

Meanwhile, Provincial Information Minister Amir Mir said the smog condition would again be reviewed next week and necessary steps be proposed in the wake of smog condition.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2023

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