LAHORE - The Lahore High Court (LHC) Monday ordered the closure of all educational institutions in Punjab on Saturdays until the end of January to curb smog. LHC judge Justice Shahid Karim issued a written order on petitions filed by citizens seeking measures to tackle air pollution in the country. In a detailed order, the judge directed the provincial government to issue a notification for closure of schools, colleges and universities on Saturdays till last week of January. The order further said that the government was taking measures to ensure work from home for two days a week. On November 18, the Punjab government had imposed a smart lockdown in the 10 most polluted districts.
The movement was restricted in Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahauddin and Narowal districts having the highest Air Quality Index (AQI) and as such potential hotspots for Conjunctivitis due to smog. “The spread of Conjunctivitis/Pink Eye due to bacterial or viral infection, smoke, dust or chemical exposure is increasing day by day, which poses a serious and imminent threat to public health”, read a notification issued by the Punjab Health Department. A day earlier, the provincial government had made it mandatory for people to wear mask while going outdoor. It is pertinent to mention here that a four-day holiday was observed in smog-hit areas of the province on last week and some businesses were also asked to shut down, but later allowed to remain operational as rains had subdued the smog.