LHC hints at lockdown for schools, private offices

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The Lahore High Court on Wednesday hinted at ordering a week-long lockdown for schools and private offices in the provincial metropolis due to its poor Air Quality Index (AQI).

Hearing several public interest petitions on the environmental issues, Justice Shahid Karim observed that the AQI aggravated to dangerous levels, making Lahore one of the most polluted cities in the world.

Observing that desperate times call for desperate measures, he said health emergency must be imposed in the city.

A director of the Punjab Disaster Management Authority told the court that there had been a decline in the smog during the last week, hoping the trend to continue during the next week.

A judicial water commission also submitted its report to the court, disclosing that notices had been issued to 47 sugar mills in the province for causing air pollution and not installing water treatment plants.

Advocate Azhar Siddique, on behalf of a petitioner, argued the provincial government had not been performing its statutory obligations to control pollution.

Representing another petitioner, Advocate Sheraz Zaka said the commissioner must ensure closure of the factories causing air pollution and smog. He regretted that the government failed to punish those involved in crop stubble burning — an activity that massively contributed to smog.

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