In a proactive move to address the pressing issue of smog, the Punjab government of Pakistan has declared a four-day public holiday in several districts, including the provincial capital, Lahore. The aim is to mitigate the harmful effects of smog, a seasonal concern that plagues the region. The public holiday is set to be observed from November 9 to 12.
Punjab’s caretaker Chief Minister, Mohsin Naqvi, announced the holiday during a press conference, citing the urgent need to address the smog-related challenges. He emphasized that an environment and health emergency has been declared in these specific divisions.
During these four days, educational institutions, both public and private offices, restaurants, cinemas, parks, and gyms will remain closed, creating a temporary pause in the daily routine of the affected areas. Additionally, the markets and business centers will observe closure on Saturday and Sunday. However, certain essential services, such as marriage halls, pharmacies, and bakeries, will continue to operate. It’s important to note that these holiday measures are temporary and specific to this week.
The chief minister also encouraged the residents to stay at home during the holidays to reduce environmental pollution and smog levels. Lahore, the provincial capital, has been recognized as one of the world’s most polluted cities, making it crucial to address the smog issue promptly.
Chief Minister Naqvi previously highlighted the burning of crop residues in Indian Punjab as a significant contributor to the spread of smog in Lahore and other parts of the province. He approached the caretaker Prime Minister, Anwaarul Haq Kakar, to address this cross-border issue. Kakar assured the Punjab government of taking up the matter with India.
This initiative reflects a concerted effort by the Punjab government to tackle the smog problem and mitigate its adverse impacts on public health and the environment. It underscores the importance of collective action to combat air pollution and smog, ultimately leading to a cleaner and healthier living environment for the people.