LAHORE – The Lahore High Court (LHC) issued directives on Friday, calling for the closure of factories emitting smoke across the province as a response to the rising levels of smog.
These directives follow previous court instructions to the Punjab caretaker government, urging immediate actions to address the hazardous air quality.
In response to the court’s orders, the provincial government announced a “smog emergency” throughout Punjab, mandating the use of masks for students in all public and private schools for a month.
On Friday morning, Lahore registered an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 277, as reported by the global air quality monitoring platform, iqair.com. An AQI below 50 is considered safe for breathing.
During a hearing of public interest petitions related to environmental concerns, Lahore Commissioner Muhammad Ali Randhawa appeared before Justice Shahid Karim, who presided over the case.
The commissioner informed the court that the traffic police had been instructed to take action against vehicles emitting smoke. In response, the court emphasized the need to capture images of such vehicles, emphasizing that significant measures were essential to combat smog in the early part of the next year, suggesting that a two-month timeframe would be reasonable.
Additionally, the commissioner informed the court about various initiatives undertaken by the city administration to promote cycling, including discussions with relevant authorities to establish a dedicated cycle track. He mentioned efforts to secure discounts from hotels for cyclists.
The court recommended involving the private sector in these initiatives.
During the proceedings, the LHC judge stated that factories emitting smoke should be sealed, and an undertaking should be sought from them, committing to prevent their operations from contributing to pollution. The judge also warned that if a violation occurred after submitting an undertaking, the next course of action should be the demolition of the factory.
Justice Karim expressed his concern regarding the perceived inactivity of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, stating that they appeared to be dormant and needed to be awakened.
Pakistani rupee remains largely stable against USD and other currencies in the open market on March 3, 2024 (Sunday).
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.3 for buying and 282.45 for selling.
Euro currently stands at 302.5 for buying and 305.5 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 354 for buying, and 359 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.3 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.5.
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