Following rainfall in parts of Punjab on Friday, the provincial government has decided to lift the lockdown initially imposed to combat the severe smog engulfing several districts. The smog had drastically worsened air quality, threatening public health.
The rain helped clear the smog, leading to an improvement in air quality. In his announcement on X, Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi stated that after consulting with experts and the Punjab environment department, the decision was made to end the lockdown.
Consequently, shops, markets, and restaurants operating under restricted hours due to the smog can now resume their regular business hours. “The recent restrictions related to smog will be lifted from tomorrow morning,” Naqvi added, signalling a return to normalcy.
Background of the Lockdown and Smog Crisis
Before this development, the Punjab authorities had revised lockdown measures in multiple districts, including Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Sialkot, and Narowal, restricting the operation of markets and shopping malls on certain days.
The environmental and health emergency declared earlier in Lahore, Gujranwala, and Hafizabad divisions underscored the severity of the smog crisis. At its peak, the air quality index (AQI) levels were alarmingly high, ranking these cities among the most polluted globally and significantly impacting the daily lives of citizens with a hazy and smog-filled atmosphere.