LAHORE: The Punjab School Education Department on Thursday issued a notification announcing a holiday in all schools within Faisalabad, Lahore and Gujranwala districts on November 22, 2019, due to hazardous smog.
The decision has been taken to save the school children from any decease or bad effects of smog, which is now the worst in the world.
This is the second time that schools have been shut down due to extreme pollution. A similar notification was issued earlier in the month announcing November 15 and 16 as holidays due to the extreme pollution.
It may be mentioned here that children run the highest risks from exposure to smog, as children spend a lot of time playing outside. As a group, children are also more prone to asthma—the most common chronic disease for children—and other respiratory ailments than adults.
Further, children exposed to smog are also very likely to develop infections like pneumonia, wheezing, coughs, and lung cancer when they’re older.
On November 14, Punjab Minister for Schools Education Dr Murad Raas in a tweet said, “The Punjab government is taking all necessary steps to improve air quality.”
However, no such steps, except a ban on crop burning, have been announced as yet.
Although a handful of schools have made anti-pollution masks compulsory for all students, barely any child is seen wearing one while out in the evenings as parents turn a blind eye towards the seriousness of the situation.
Earlier in the month, Lahore was ranked as the most polluted city in the world with an air quality ranking of 447, according to Air Visual’s Air Quality Index (AQI).
Waking up to the sight of a dense haze covering the city has become a dangerous routine for the residents of Pakistan’s most populous province, especially in Lahore. Each and every person is smoking up to 40 cigarettes without having to buy nicotine yet ignorance continues to prevail.
Picture taken by Zubair Mahfooz