LHC may order one-week lockdown for schools and private offices in Lahore

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A photo of Lahore shrouded in thick smog. Photo: file
  • Desperate times call for desperate measures, says LHC judge.
  • A PDMA official said a drop in the AQI had been seen over the past week.
  • Judge warns PDMA and other institutions to prepare for lockdown if AQI does not improve.

The Lahore High Court (LHC) has hinted that it will order a week-long lockdown in the city for schools and offices due to deteriorating air quality in the city, according to a published report in The news.

Judge Shahid Karim was hearing several public interest petitions on Lahore’s Air Quality Index (AQI). Over the past week, Lahore has been ranked as the most polluted city in the world according to AQQI ranking.

The judge said desperate times called for desperate measures, adding that a health emergency had to be imposed on Lahore to deal with the situation.

A director of the Punjab Disaster Management Authority told the court there had been a drop in smog over the past week. He hoped the smog would continue to subside next week.

A judicial water commission submitted a report, telling the court it issued notices to 47 sugar mills for causing air pollution and failing to install water treatment plants.

Lawyer Azhar Siddique, on behalf of a petitioner, argued that the provincial government had failed to meet its legal obligations to control pollution.

Representing another petitioner, lawyer Sheraz Zaka said the commissioner should shut down factories causing air pollution and smog. He said the government also failed to punish those involved in the stubble burning.

The LHC judge commended the traffic police for handling traffic jams in the city and keeping traffic flowing.

Judge Karim adjourned the hearing until next week, warning the PDMA and other institutions to prepare for a lockdown by the next hearing if the air quality index does not improve .

In addition, Judge Karim disposed of several requests ordering the police not to interfere in the legal affairs of oil depots which would have been involved in the sale of adulterated oil products of poor quality and thus contributing to the pollution of the ‘air.

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