In an effort to combat the adverse effects of environmental pollution, the Punjab government has declared a smog emergency across the province following a directive from the Lahore High Court.
After receiving a reprimand from the high court for neglecting environmental concerns, the Lahore commissioner, Punjab’s caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi convened a meeting with ministers and department heads to discuss strategies for mitigating the impact of smog.
Lahore city has consistently ranked among the top three cities with the most polluted air in recent weeks, as per IQAir rankings.
During the meeting, environmental and health experts emphasized the importance of preventive measures to reduce smog and the need for all government departments to work diligently in combating it effectively.
The meeting concluded that, rather than implementing restrictions similar to those during the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be more effective to mandate mask-wearing in all public and private schools across the province for one month, prioritizing students’ health.
The public will be encouraged to use masks, and provincial ministers will inspect schools. The meeting also discussed taking action against vehicles and factories emitting pollutants and imposing fines on farmers burning crop residues.
The interim chief minister stressed the proper disposal of crop residues and action against those contributing to pollution by neglecting to water construction materials. Relevant authorities were instructed to ensure dust and sand did not contribute to pollution.
The commitment of the Punjab government to address the smog issue and safeguard public health was underlined by the presence of various provincial ministers and government officials at the meeting.
Earlier in the day, the Lahore High Court directed the Lahore commissioner to declare a smog emergency and seal factories that are polluting the environment.