Punjab govt announces 4-day holiday in smog-hit areas

Punjab govt announces 4-day holiday in smog-hit areas

Lahore (Web Desk): The caretaker Punjab government on Tuesday announced a four-day holiday in the areas affected by severe smog.

Addressing a press conference in Lahore Carataker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi announced that schools and offices in Lahore and other smog-hit regions will remain closed on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

"November 9 is an official holiday while Saturday and Sunday are weekends", he said, clarifying that the government has only announced Friday as a public holiday.

Naqvi noted that the closure of schools and offices would help curb smog in affected areas especially Lahore.

The Punjab CM said markets will remain closed on weekends and restaurants and cinemas will remain shut from Friday to Sunday.

He also clarified that all parks will remain closed from Friday till Sunday.

The chief minister urged public to stay indoors during these four holidays as Lahore had become the worst smog-hit city in the world.

It is pertinent to mention that the Punjab government last week declared emergency to tackle worsening smog situation in the province, particularly Lahore.

Earlier, the Lahore High Court (LHC) also directed the administration to impose the smog emergency in order to avoid risks to health of citizens.

Separately, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on Tuesday issued an advisory to guide the general public against the increasing risks of deteriorating air quality due to rising smog trend projected due to prevailing weather conditions in the plains of Punjab and Pothohar region.

The NDMA advisory mentioned that based on current conditions, stable weather in the plains of Punjab, coupled with emissions from vehicles and industries, residual rice crop burning, and an upcoming westerly system, air quality is expected to worsen in the plains of Punjab and in Potohar as well.

It added that according to the forecast, poor Air Quality Index (AQI) readings were expected during the coming week in central and south Punjab, with hazardous smog levels in the cities of Gujranwala, Multan, Lahore, Bahawalpur and Faisalabad including surrounding areas such as, Sargodha, DG Khan and Sahiwal divisions.

However, moderate to poor AQI is also expected in the Rawalpindi division, including Islamabad.

The advisory noted that precautionary measures against Smog included limited outdoor activities, and spend more time indoors during smoggy days.

Moreover, the masses have been exhorted to wear masks when going outside to reduce inhalation of smog particles.

“Stay informed about local air quality levels and follow recommendations from authorities. Drink plenty of water to keep your respiratory system hydrated,” the NDMA said.