Amid an alarming surge in smog levels, Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city, is grappling with the Air Quality Index (AQI) hitting around 400. The toxic atmosphere in the provincial capital has become a recurring issue, giving rise to a so-called fifth season of smog that significantly impacts the health and daily activities of residents.
On Tuesday, Lahore found itself in the unfortunate position of being the most polluted city worldwide, with the Air Quality Index (AQI) recording a high of 399. In Amir Town, the AQI surged to an alarming level of 444, while the PM2.5 concentration in Lahore currently exceeds the WHO annual air quality guideline value by 46.8 times.
Experts are urging people to minimize outdoor exposure, keep windows closed to avoid polluted outdoor air, wear masks outdoors, and use air purifiers for fresh air. Despite a weekend rain spell that temporarily reduced the density of thick smog, the situation in the provincial capital of Punjab continues to worsen.
In response to the escalating smog crisis, the Lahore High Court has issued directives to the Punjab government. All schools and colleges across the province are ordered to close on Saturdays as a measure to combat smog. Justice Shahid Waheed, presiding over petitions related to air pollution, criticized the Lahore commissioner for failing to control smog. In response, he mandated the commissioner to formulate a policy for implementing a work-from-home strategy for two days a week.