Punjab govt announces public holiday on Nov 10 to curb smog

Web Desk
Vehicles move amid dense smog in Lahore, Pakistan November 24, 2021. — Reuters
Vehicles move amid dense smog in Lahore, Pakistan November 24, 2021. — Reuters 

The Punjab government announced a public holiday on November 10 (Friday) in Lahore, Gujranwala and other districts due to prevailing smog in the province. 

"It is notified for general information that a Public Holiday shall be observed on 10th November 2023 (Friday) in Lahore Division (District Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Kasur), District Gujranwala, District Hafizabad, District Sialkot & District Narowal, due to smog, except those offices exempted by Primary & Secondary Healthcare Department," said the notification. 

A day earlier, the Punjab government had imposed a health emergency in Lahore and two other divisions from Nov 9 to 12. 

All markets, shopping malls, restaurants, cinemas, gymnasiums, schools, and offices (public and private) shall remain closed for four days in Lahore, Gujranwala and Hafizabad divisions, a statement issued by the provincial health department said.

Growing industrialisation in South Asia in recent decades has fuelled growing pollutants emanating from factories, construction activity and vehicles in densely populated areas.

The problem becomes more severe in cooler autumn and winter months, as temperature inversion prevents a layer of warm air from rising and traps pollutants closer to the ground.

Heavy smog blanketed Lahore this week, reducing visibility and leading residents to complain of a threat to their health.

"The weather is such that everyone has a bad throat and bad eyes, and everyone's health is getting affected," said Mohammad Salahuddin, a private guard in Lahore.

Rising air pollution can cut life expectancy by more than five years per person in South Asia, one of the world's most polluted regions, according to a report published in August which flagged the growing burden of hazardous air on health.