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LHC orders closure of schools for three days

By Our Correspondent
December 03, 2022

LAHORE:The Lahore High Court Justice Shahid Karim on Friday hinted at ordering closure of schools for three days and work from home for two days in a week and sought suggestions from the Punjab government to control the rising smog.

The court observed that the provincial government seemed non-serious to curb smog. He regretted that the smog had been increasing instead of eliminating. The judge was hearing public interest petitions on several issues relating to the environment. The judge directed the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to make rules to enhance punishment on the brick-kilns and industries for violating the laws and policies. “A brick-kiln or a factory should not be sealed but demolished on committing violations,” the judge recommended the agency. Justice Karim directed the provincial government to seek support from the federal minister for climate change. “Tell the federal government that the smog in Punjab has reached an alarming level,” the judge advised the provincial government. The judge observed that the authorities also needed to seek assistance from the international experts of environment.

The judge adjourned the hearing till next week and sought a compliance report from the provincial secretary for environment about penalties on the violators. The judge directed the secretary to coordinate with the relevant ministries and come up with recommendations on closing schools for three days and work from home for two days in a week.

Justice Karim said the court would pass an order in light of the input by the ministries concerned. The judge observed that the smog had been causing health complications among the citizens. The judge also sought a report on the amendment or improvement in the existing rules to deal with the industrial sector.