Despite the ongoing smog crisis in Lahore, the provincial capital of Punjab, the caretaker government has decided against declaring an extra weekly holiday for schools. The proposal to declare Wednesday as a school holiday was under consideration due to the hazardous air quality levels in the city. However, this idea was ultimately rejected following a slight improvement in the Air Quality Index (AQI) due to recent rainfall.
The decision was made by the Caretaker Minister for Environment and Planning, Bilal Afzal, who ruled out the possibility of an additional mid-week break for schools. This decision was supported by the Punjab Cabinet Committee members, who met twice to discuss the issue but were not in favor of an extra off day. Instead, they emphasized that authorities were implementing strict measures to combat the smog crisis.
Persistent Smog Crisis in Lahore
One such measure includes the actions taken by the City Traffic Police (CTO), who have impounded thousands of smoke-emitting vehicles and fined over 7,000 others. These efforts are part of a broader strategy to reduce the pollution levels in Lahore, which currently tops the list of the world’s most polluted cities. The AQI in Lahore was recently recorded at a ‘hazardous’ level of 510, with the most polluted areas being The Mall Road, the Polo Ground in Cantt, and the Lahore American school area.
Despite these alarming figures and the health risks associated with high pollution levels, the caretaker government remains firm in its decision not to disrupt the academic calendar. This decision has sparked criticism from some quarters, with critics arguing that the government should prioritize the health and well-being of students. However, the government maintains that it is taking all necessary steps to address the smog crisis and ensure the safety of its citizens.