- Web Desk
- 53 Minutes ago
Smog update: Punjab govt suggests more restrictions in multiple districts
- Web Desk
- Nov 19, 2023
LAHORE: In the latest smog update, the provincial government in Punjab has mandated the wearing of face masks for all citizens engaging in outdoor activities in 10 critically affected districts from November 20 to 26..
This directive has been issued in the wake of news regarding increasing smog levels that have engulfed most of Punjab, but particularly the districts around Lahore.
Smog level in Lahore today is still being reported as hazardous with severe air quality issues. Similar observations have come from other districts including Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, Narowal, Hafizabad, and Mandi Bahuddin, with Air Quality Index (AQI) numbers skyrocketing. This has led to the new set of restrictions.
Echoing the concerns of the Lahore high court order regarding smog, the Secretary of Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, in an official order, emphasized the urgent need for preventive measures against airborne diseases, including the threats posed by possible acid rain and other pollution-related issues.
The order, citing the Punjab Infectious Diseases (Prevention and Control) Act, 2020, underscores the necessity of these actions to protect public health and preserve lives across the province. The specified legal provisions, Section 4(c), 5(1)(c), and 5(1)(e), provide the framework for the implementation of this health safety measure.
Earlier, Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi issued a directive on Sunday afternoon, necessitating the wearing of masks by the denizens of Lahore and other smog affected areas, for at least one week.
The directive noted, “In response to deteriorating Air Quality, the Punjab Government announces a one-week mandate for wearing of face masks for all citizens in smog-affected districts of Punjab.” This announcement aligns with the broader context of “smog holidays in Punjab 2023,” reflecting the government’s proactive approach to managing the crisis.
The caretaker CM also shared the directive through his social media profile, adding, “Prioritising health is our collective responsibility. Please adhere to the guidelines for a safer community.”
On November 13, the Lahore High Court (LHC) mandated Saturday to be a holiday in smog affected areas of Punjab, ordering the government to declare holidays due to smog in schools and colleges on Saturday.
The smog holidays come as a response to the conditions in a city that recently rose in ranks to be declared the most polluted city in the world.
The caretaker Transport Minister of Punjab has also hinted at the possibility of implementing work-from-home arrangements and shifting schools online on Wednesday due to the prevailing smog conditions.
In a statement, Caretaker Minister Ibrahim Hasan Murad mentioned that the recent measures taken have led to an improvement in the smog situation.
In an update for the remianing smog season, the option of working from home and conducting online classes in educational institutions will be under consideration due to the persisting smog.