ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi kicked off a cleanliness drive in smog-hit Lahore on Sunday, in a bid to clear the dust off the roads as thick haze hangs heavy in the provincial capital of Punjab.
Lahore, a city that houses over 11 million residents, has been blanketed in thick haze that partially blocks the sun and shrouds streets with fog at night. The problem is aggravated during the winter season, as temperature inversion prevents a layer of warm air from rising and traps pollutants closer to the ground.
Heavy smog has forced authorities in Punjab to announce several measures, including lockdowns, school closures, changing business hours for markets, and cracking down on smoke-emitting vehicles and industries since November.
Thousands of people in Lahore, children in particular, have suffered from respiratory issues due to the smog since the onset of winter.
“Taking another step to combat smog in Lahore,” Naqvi wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
“A cleanliness drive has started today, deploying four teams with 100 members each to clear the roads from dust.”
The caretaker chief minister said the initiative was aimed at improving Lahore’s air quality “without impacting traffic flow.”
The state-run Radio Pakistan said in a post that the campaign encourages citizens’ participation and emphasizes the responsibility of the community in “fostering a cleaner and greener Lahore.”
“By combining targeted actions with a commitment to minimal disruption, the government aims to set a precedent for effective and responsible governance in environmental management,” Radio Pakistan said.
Lahore topped the world’s most polluted city index several times in November, consistently having an air quality index (AQI) above 300, according to Swiss group IQAir.
The AQI is a standardized tool measuring air pollutants, serving as a crucial barometer for public health. An AQI between 101 and 200 is considered ‘unhealthy’, particularly for sensitive groups while an AQI between 201 and 300 is said to be ‘very unhealthy’ and above 300 is ‘hazardous.’