Punjab Government Declares Smog Emergency: Mandatory Masks for Students, Crackdown on Pollution

punjab government declares smog emergency mandatory masks for students, crackdown on pollution

The government in Punjab, Pakistan, has declared a ‘smog emergency’ following a directive from the Lahore High Court. This move aims to control the dangerous air quality in the region.

According to Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi, the smog emergency covers the entire province. Students in both public and private schools must wear masks for one month. Naqvi emphasized the need to sprinkle water on dust, sand, and debris during construction projects, warning of strict penalties for non-compliance.

Farmers were urged to refrain from burning crop stubble and to dispose of it properly. Naqvi called for decisive action against vehicles and factories emitting smog, regardless of their status. He also ordered the withdrawal of fines against farmers during this period.

Environmental and health experts provided guidance on preventive measures against smog. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority labeled smog as a “calamity” and banned the burning of crop residue. Instructions were issued to crack down on smoke-emitting vehicles and polluting factories.

District administrations were instructed to monitor industries and brick kilns closely. Deputy commissioners were empowered to take necessary measures to mitigate smog.

At the Lahore High Court, Justice Shahid Karim criticized the authorities for failing to address the persistent air pollution. He ordered the immediate imposition of a smog emergency in the city, expressing concern for the well-being of children. Justice Karim directed action against polluting factories and ordered the activation of a helpline for smog control.

The judge emphasized the importance of citizen involvement in reporting pollution sources. He lamented the adverse environmental impact of unchecked development projects in Lahore. Notably, smog, which typically occurs later in the year, arrived unusually early this year, highlighting the urgency of addressing environmental issues.