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All schools in Lahore to remain closed Friday

November 21, 2019
All schools in Lahore to remain closed Friday

Photo: Online

 All schools in Lahore will be closed tomorrow (Friday) because of “dense smog”. 

This includes both private and public schools. Schools in Gujranwala and Faisalabad will also remain shut.

The Punjab School Education Department has issued the notification for the closure and blamed it on the smog.

Air quality levels across the city are rising every day. People are filing petitions in the Lahore High Court and organising protests but the government says everything is fine. Pakistan may have a very different way of looking at air quality than the rest of the world—it revised its air quality standards to say levels that the rest of the world considers dangerous are just moderate—but that doesn’t mean Pakistani lungs can survive this.

AirVisual.com and aqicn.org, two websites that measure air quality, have both declared that the air in Lahore is very unhealthy.

According to Pakistan’s revised air quality standards, an index of 200-300 is ‘moderately polluted’, while the rest of the world considers this ‘very unhealthy’.

What is an AQI?

An AQI or Air Quality Index is basically how polluted the air is. The index combines a number of things, including your PM2.5 rate. PM2.5 is how many fine particles are in the air, like those found in smoke or haze.

Each country has a different standard for what the PM2.5 should be, but the US has set its standard at 12μg/m3 as of 2012 and the EU at 20μg/m3 in 2015. In Pakistan, PM2.5 from 0 to 35 is ‘good.

Panic on social media

People are panicking. Especially those living in Lahore.

One Twitter user explained that the smog was due to deforestation, according to Belgian researchers. He supported his statement with figures from the researchers. In last 10 years, the total tree cover of Lahore went down by 75%. In 2007, tree cover in Lahore was 12,359 hectares, 7,965 hectares in 2012 and in 2015, it hit the lowest at 3,520 hectares.

Awais Khan, another social media user, commented on how a picture from a Lahore school looked like ‘the apocalypse’.

Several others shared their troubles because of the smog on social media.

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