LHC mandates closure of schools on Saturdays to combat smog in Punjab

LHC mandates closure of schools on Saturdays to combat smog in Punjab


Court suggests work-from-home arrangement twice a week

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LAHORE (Dunya News) – The Lahore High Court on Monday issued a directive to the Punjab government for the closure of all schools and colleges on Saturdays in an effort to address the issue of smog in the province. The court also suggested a two-day remote work arrangement for employers.

On Saturday, the caretaker government decided to lift the restrictions imposed to combat the adverse impacts of environmental pollution following Friday’s heavy spell of rain in parts of Punjab that improved air quality in the province.

Due to its unhealthy air quality, Lahore city has consistently ranked among the top three cities with the most polluted air in recent weeks, according to AQI rankings.

A “smog emergency” had been announced by the Punjab caretaker government on Nov 1 after the Lahore High Court reprimanded the Lahore commissioner for neglecting the critical issue of the environment.

During Monday’s hearing on a smog-related petition, Justice Shahid Karim attributed the current smog situation to the government.

The judge mandated the closure of schools and colleges on Saturdays and the adoption of a work-from-home policy twice a week.

Expressing dissatisfaction with the Lahore commissioner s efforts to address smog, Justice Karim remarked that the commissioner talked big but nothing happened on the ground. “Just a notification is issued to shut everything," he added.

The judge called for the immediate replacement of district commissioners in Jhang, Hafizabad, Khanewal, Nankana Sahib, Bahawalnagar and Sheikhupura for their failure to control environmental pollution.

He also urged the provincial chief secretary to issue notifications for the transfer of these officers, citing disturbing videos of crop residue burning.

Read also: Punjab lifts lockdown imposed to combat smog after Friday's downpour

Emphasising the impact of vehicle exhaust on smog, Justice Karim stated that a brief traffic stoppage for five minutes could disrupt the entire city. He pointed out, "Most smog is caused by vehicle exhaust."

Read more: Smog emergency declared in Punjab

As a further recommendation, the judge advised the government to supply electric motorcycles for local staff.

The hearing was adjourned until Wednesday.