Court orders restaurants, markets to close by 10pm in Punjab

LAHORE  -  The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday directed authorities to close all businesses by 10 pm daily, as part of efforts to address the increasing levels of smog in the city.

Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court issued a detailed on set of environment-related petitions, directed authorities to enforce the closure of all markets, restaurants and other businesses by 10 pm.

The court has directed CCPO Lahore and the Punjab chief secretary to ensure the implementation of court orders. The LHC has further directed Punjab government to issue notification regarding the 2-day work-from-home policy for banks and offices.

Pakistan’s second largest city of Lahore once again ranked on Tuesday as the world’s most polluted city, despite efforts by the government to reduce toxic smog in the metropolis.

Lahore held the top spot on a real-time list of the world’s most polluted cities with an air quality index (AQI) of 353 at around 1pm, according to Swiss group IQAir. AQI as high as 151-200 is considered unhealthy, while an AQI rating between 201 to 300 is more harmful and AQI over 300 has been extremely hazardous.

The air becomes heavier in the winter as compared to summer, causing poisonous particles in the atmosphere to move downwards and making the atmosphere polluted. As a result, a layer of polluted particles, including large amounts of carbon and smoke, covers an area. Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi announced on Thursday that schools, colleges and all other educational institutes will remain closed in 10 districts of Punjab for an additional two days — Friday and Saturday — weekly due to the worsening smog situation.

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