In an unprecedented move to tackle the environmental crisis caused by severe smog, the caretaker government of Punjab has issued a notification mandating the closure of all educational institutions across 10 districts on November 18th. This sweeping directive encompasses both public and private schools, colleges, and universities within the affected areas.
The districts facing this emergency shutdown include Lahore, Gujranwala, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Gujrat, Sialkot, Narowal, Hafizabad, and Mandi Bahuddin. These regions have been identified as having the highest Air Quality Index (AQI) readings, indicating alarmingly poor air quality that poses significant health risks to residents.
Punjab Govt Issues Notification to Close All Education
In addition to the closure of educational institutions, the notification also stipulates that shops, gyms, and cinemas will remain closed until 3 PM on Saturday in these districts. This decision comes as part of a broader strategy to reduce the movement of people and, consequently, vehicular emissions—one of the primary contributors to the smog problem.
Bilal Afzal, the Minister of Planning and Development, Forrest Wildlife and Fisheries & Environmental Protection, has pointed out that transportation is responsible for approximately 45% of the smog enveloping the province. In response to this, the Lahore High Court has previously ordered offices to adopt a work-from-home policy twice a week to minimize traffic congestion and pollution.
Furthermore, the court has been actively advocating for alternative modes of transportation, such as cycling, to help alleviate the environmental burden. The government’s proactive stance on the issue is also reflected in its earlier announcement of four holidays to curb the smog’s impact.
Punjab Govt Issues Notification to Close All Education 2023
The smog situation in Punjab has reached critical levels, prompting the government to take decisive action to protect the health and well-being of its citizens. The temporary closure of educational institutions and other measures are seen as necessary steps to combat the deteriorating air quality and raise public awareness about the importance of environmental protection.
As the province grapples with this environmental challenge, the government’s efforts to mitigate the effects of smog through such closures and restrictions underscore the urgency of addressing air pollution and its hazardous implications for public health and safety.