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Smog: Court orders 50% private employees to work from home

Justice Karim turns down proposal to close schools

SAMAA | - Posted: Nov 18, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 months ago
Posted: Nov 18, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 months ago

Photo: Online

The Lahore High Court has ordered private businesses in Lahore and surrounding cities to immediately halve their staff’s presence at offices to help reduce the noxious smog that is causing serious health problems in the populace.

The order will be enforced in cities where smog has skyrocketed to dangerous levels, SAMAA TV reported.

In addition to the Lahore division, Gujranwala has also been affected by smog.

At a hearing on Thursday, Justice Shahid Karim ordered the authorities to do everything possible to rein in the levels of smog and protect people.

The court instructed the Punjab government to issue a notification with immediate effect to reduce 50% of staff at private offices and said that half of private sector employees will work from home.

The judge said meetings should be held daily for all districts, including Gujranwala, to monitor the situation.

World cities hit by environmental pollution have tried to reduce smoke emission from vehicles to clean up the air. New Delhi, which was the most polluted city until recently, used an Even-Odd formula to ban half of vehicles from roads in an attempt to contain smoke emissions.

Proposal for school closures

During the Lahore High Court hearing, the Judicial Water & Environmental Commission recommended schools be closed. However, the court rejected the proposal.

The LHC sought a traffic plan and ordered the authorities to set up a traffic emergency helpline, which will enable people lodge complaints about traffic woes.

Earlier, the Punjab government indicated that it was mulling over closing schools in certain cities as noxious smog engulfed the province.

Special Assistant to Punjab Chief Minister Hassan Khawar said to curb the smog they have limited options such as changing school timings for children and office timings for adults or shutting down schools completely.

A meeting of the Standing Committee on Smog said on Tuesday that the situation was not very dangerous so far but if conditions worsened, schools could be closed.

The committee banned the use of Euro II petrol and diesel in in Lahore for one month.

Precautionary measures for smog

According to pulmonologists, some precautionary measures can be taken by people, especially those who spend a majority of their time outdoors.

  • Wear masks, preferably two
  • Wear sunglasses to prevent itchy eyes
  • Wash as soon as you reach home
  • Drink lots of water
  • Keep a check on the AQI index and avoid areas where the air quality is poor
  • Avoid exercising in smoggy conditions
  • Avoid taking routes that are built up or congested
  • If you have asthma, carry an inhaler

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