The Punjab government in Pakistan has announced that educational institutes will remain closed on Thursday due to extreme smog and presence of dangerous toxins in the air.
This is the first time that smog has forced closure of schools in the country.
In a tweet, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar said, “Due to sudden increase in smog, all schools in Lahore will remain closed tomorrow. We are closely monitoring the #LahoreSmog situation. Administration is already on high alert and have tasked them to escalate actions against crop burning and other factors that contribute to smog.”
The smog in Lahore continues to rise as the Air Quality Index (AQI) broke previous records once again, reaching as high as 732 on Wednesday.
The itching air, complicating respiratory systems of the people, was alarming by the evening. And for that reason, #LahoreSmog was the top trend on Twitter.
According to Air Visual, an organisation that provides free access to the world’s largest air quality database and ranks the world’s cities according to the AQI, Lahore ranks among the five worst cities in terms of air quality.
However, unlike the Indian government that has imposed a health emergency in the capital city, the Pakistani Punjab government has failed to take any concrete measures to combat the menace of smog.
The government only seemed interested in shifting the blame instead of taking measures to control air pollution.
Further, health experts advised people, especially children and the elderly, to remain indoors and take more liquids.
A group of students have also petitioned the Lahore High Court seeking change in the AQI measurement system, and implementation of the Smog Policy.
For the last four years, smog, rightly being called the fifth season of Lahore, has deprived the people of sunshine and dusk-hour charm as layers of toxic smoke engulf horizon from November to February.