LHC orders Saturday closure of schools until January

Lahore smog

LAHORE: Responding to the ongoing severe smog conditions, the Lahore High Court (LHC) has issued an order instructing the closure of all educational institutions on Saturdays until the end of January.

Justice Shahid Karim issued a written order following petitions addressing the heavy smog affecting Lahore and other parts of Punjab.

The court directed the deputy commissioner and other relevant authorities to issue notifications for the shutdown of schools, colleges, and universities on Saturdays.

Additionally, the order highlighted that the Punjab government is taking measures to facilitate two days of remote work each week.

No end to fog, smog in Punjab

In a significant move, the court suspended part of the government’s notification related to the closure of gyms. It clarified that this notification, initially issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is no longer applicable.

The court’s directive also urged the environment department to take departmental action against officers who failed to address the smog issue. Meanwhile, Lahore’s air quality index (AQI) has once again reached alarming levels, reclaiming its position as the world’s most polluted city.

The AQI for Lahore recorded on Monday morning was above 400, which is categorised as “hazardous”.

The city administration has appealed to citizens to minimize unnecessary travel, and medical experts recommend wearing masks when leaving homes. To combat smog, civic authorities are actively spraying water at various locations in the city.

Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi, on Sunday, mandated the wearing of masks across the province for a week due to the deteriorating air quality. In a notification, Naqvi emphasized the collective responsibility of prioritising health and urged people to adhere to guidelines for a safer community.

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