Lahore smog: LHC asks Punjab govt to consider closing schools from Dec 20

Lahore smog: LHC asks Punjab govt to consider closing schools from Dec 20

Lahore smog: LHC asks Punjab govt to consider closing schools from Dec 20

Labourers sit around a fire to warm up themselves in Lahore on December 16, 2021. Image: Mohsin Raza

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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC), on Thursday, expressed concern over smog in Lahore and directed the Punjab government to consider closing schools from December 20.

Read more: NCOC shifts winter vacations to January in educational institutions: sources

Justice Shahid Karim was hearing petitions of advocate Shiraz Zaka and others against the Punjab government’s alleged inaction in the province to control smog.

During the hearing, the Punjab Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) informed LHC that smoke from barbecue shops was also causing an increase in smog and suggested closing them. 

The court assured PDMA that the matter would be reviewed later.

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Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA)’s lawyer pointed out that the smog was increasing as the markets remained open till late at night.

 Two men going to their destination on a foggy morning in Lahore on December 16, 2021. Image: Mohsin Raza

The court remarked that markets around the world open at 6 am. “Why can’t we open markets early here?” 

Meanwhile, the LHC also ruled that the policy of allocating space for parking plazas needs to be reviewed. 

The court also sought notification of the awareness campaign launched by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and ordered the closure of the kiln factories, which did not pay the fine.

The LHC also directed the chief traffic police officer to improve the traffic situation in the walled city.

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The court later adjourned the hearing will December 17.

Air pollution has worsened in Pakistan in recent years, as a mixture of low-grade diesel fumes, smoke from seasonal crop burn off, and colder winter temperatures coalesce into stagnant clouds of smog.

Read more: Winter vacations to start from December 25, announces Shafqat Mahmood 

Lahore, a bustling megacity of more than 11 million people in Punjab province near the border with India, consistently ranks among the worst cities in the world for air pollution.

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