Lahore, November 28, 2023 : The Lahore High Court (LHC) has instructed authorities to shut down all businesses by 10 pm daily in a bid to combat the rising smog levels in the city.
Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court, in response to various environment-related petitions, has mandated the closure of all markets, restaurants, and businesses by 10 pm.
The court has instructed the CCPO Lahore and the Punjab chief secretary to oversee the enforcement of these orders. Additionally, the Punjab government has been directed to issue a notification regarding a two-day work-from-home policy for banks and offices.
Despite government efforts to curb toxic smog in Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city, it has once again been ranked on Tuesday as the world’s most polluted city.
At approximately 1 pm, Lahore claimed the top position on the real-time list of the world’s most polluted cities, with an air quality index (AQI) of 353, as reported by the Swiss group IQAir. An AQI exceeding 300 is considered extremely hazardous, while a range of 201 to 300 is categorized as more harmful, and 151-200 is deemed unhealthy.
The winter season contributes to denser air, causing harmful particles to descend, resulting in increased pollution and the formation of a layer of pollutants, including substantial amounts of carbon and smoke, covering the area.
The Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister, Mohsin Naqvi, declared on Thursday the extended closure of schools, colleges, and all educational institutions for an additional two days—Friday and Saturday—in 10 districts of Punjab due to the worsening smog conditions.
The affected areas include Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan, Sargodha, and Sahiwal divisions. Additionally, the chief minister disclosed plans to install air-purifying towers in Lahore and provide 10,000 students with electric motorbikes at a subsidized rate.