The air quality index of Lahore has increased to an alarming level, with the city maintaining its spot in the list of most polluted cities in the world.
To curtail the spread of smog, a one-day smart lockdown has been imposed in 10 districts of Punjab. Schools, colleges, markets, gyms, banks, and all business centers will all remain closed.
The overall air quality index of the city has surpassed 394, with the figure in many areas of Lahore crossing even the hazardous 450 level.
The Punjab government has decided to restrict routine life in Lahore and Gujranwala divisions. Transportation will be limited in Lahore, Gujranwala, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Gujrat, Sialkot, Narowal, Hafizabad and Mandi Bahauddin, as per the notification.
Also Read: Punjab seeks China's help to battle smog
On Saturday, all public and private educational institutions will remain closed, and online classes have been allowed. Markets, shops, cinemas, and offices will remain closed till 3pm.
Experts have advised citizens to wear masks and adopt precautionary measures in the wake of the thick layers of smog.
Meanwhile, the Punjab government has sought assistance from China to tackle the smog crisis in Lahore, as the provincial capital continues to cope with rising air pollution.
The spike in atmospheric pollution has led to a surge in respiratory and throat-related illnesses. Over the past 24 hours, a staggering 3,242 individuals have sought medical attention in government hospitals.
Mohsin Naqvi on smog control
On Saturday, caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi said that it is a national responsibility to deal with smog, adding that every section will have to play its effective role. He appealed to the citizens to wear masks.
Smog air purifiers and ioniser units will be installed at 12 spots in Lahore, Naqvi said. He further said it has been decided to establish a high-powered environmental commission to control smog.
Experts have been hired to create artificial rain, he informed, adding that a team of Chinese experts who eliminated smog in Beijing will visit Lahore soon.
Motorcycle rickshaws will be registered for free in 30 days after which there will be a crackdown on the unregistered ones, the CM said, adding that there will be a ban on purchasing fuel motorcycles at the official level, and only electric bikes will have to be bought.
The police and transport department have been ordered to crack down on pumps selling substandard petrol, Naqvi stated. He claimed that in Pakistan, only 10% of crop residue is burnt, while India burns 90%.
Farmers will be given modern machinery to destroy crop residue to curtail environmental pollution in the coming years, he added.