In a significant move to address the persistent smog-related issues in Punjab, the Lahore High Court (LHC) has issued a series of directives that aim to safeguard public health and combat air pollution. Here are the key highlights of the LHC’s recent orders:
Educational Institute Closures
The Lahore High Court has ordered the government of Punjab to implement a temporary closure of all government and private educational institutes on both Saturdays and Sundays. This proactive measure is designed to protect the well-being of students and educators by reducing their exposure to hazardous smog conditions.
Work From Home (WFH) Policy
In a bid to reduce air pollution and alleviate the impact of smog, the LHC has directed offices in smog-affected areas to adopt a “work from home” (WFH) policy for two days each week. This policy is limited to specific regions and is aimed at minimizing vehicular emissions, which are a significant contributor to air pollution. The affected areas include Lahore division, Sheikhupura, Khanewal, and Bahawalnagar.
Accountability for Smog Control
Expressing dissatisfaction with the efforts to combat smog in the province, the Lahore High Court has ordered the replacement of the Director-General of Environment. This change is expected to strengthen smog control measures and enhance their effectiveness.
The court has further directed the transfer of Deputy Commissioners in specific regions, including Jhang, Hafiz Abad, Khanewal, Nankana Sahib, Bahawalnagar, and Sheikhupura. These transfers are intended to facilitate more efficient and coordinated responses to smog-related challenges.
The Lahore High Court has underscored the significant role played by vehicles in contributing to smog. It has called for more stringent measures to reduce vehicle emissions and mitigate their adverse effects on air quality.
Promotion of Eco-Friendly Transportation
In an effort to reduce reliance on fossil fuel-powered vehicles, the Punjab government has been instructed to promote eco-friendly transportation methods. This includes encouraging the use of bicycles and procuring electric motorcycles for government staff.
Concerns About Development Projects
The LHC has expressed reservations about initiating development projects during periods of severe smog. It has criticized the Punjab government for undertaking such projects when air quality conditions are already compromised.
In conclusion, the directives from the Lahore High Court represent a proactive approach to addressing smog-related challenges in Punjab. These measures include educational closures, WFH policies, personnel changes in environmental management, and a focus on reducing vehicle emissions. The court also advocates for eco-friendly transportation options and expresses concerns about development projects that could worsen smog conditions. These actions demonstrate a commitment to improving air quality and safeguarding public health in the province.