Lahore- Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi has taken decisive action to address the persistent smog problem plaguing Lahore Division and its neighboring areas. In response to the severe air pollution caused by crop residue burning and substandard diesel emissions, a public holiday has been declared on Friday, November 10.
Chief Minister Naqvi, during a news conference at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, clarified that Thursday, November 9, was already marked as a national holiday to commemorate Allama Muhammad Iqbal’s birth anniversary. Upon consultation with environmental experts, Naqvi extended the holiday to include the suspension of school and office operations across Lahore Division. This includes Lahore, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Nankana Sahib, as well as some parts of Gujranwala and nearby regions on Friday, November 10.
Furthermore, the government, after a meeting earlier in the day, decided to grant an additional holiday right before the weekend, creating a four-day break aimed at reducing smog levels.
Chief Minister Naqvi emphasized that strict measures have been taken against farmers involved in crop residue burning, and the situation is under close monitoring. Factories will remain operational to safeguard workers’ livelihoods. He urged residents to ensure that children and the elderly wear facemasks and advised people to stay indoors from Thursday unless it is essential to go outside.
Apart from addressing the smog issue, Naqvi also announced a health emergency in the province due to the rising number of patients with respiratory, throat, and eye diseases attributed to alarmingly high levels of atmospheric pollution.
When questioned about the challenge of completely eliminating smog, the chief minister acknowledged its difficulty but emphasized that with strict measures and responsible behavior, it can be controlled. He noted that heavy rains are the only factor that significantly improves atmospheric pollution and smog.