The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) announced on Wednesday that all bank branches will remain closed in the smog-affected areas of Punjab, including Lahore on Friday (November 10).
The SBP’s announcement is in line with the provincial authorities’ decision to impose a health emergency in Lahore and other areas to deal with the worsening smog situation.
“As per the notification dated 8th November 2023 issued by the Government of Punjab, it has been decided that all Banks/MFBs will keep their branches closed in Lahore Division (ie District Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Kasur), District Gujranwala, District Hafizabad, District Sialkot and District Narowal on Friday, November 10, 2023,” the central bank statement said.
A day earlier, the Punjab government had imposed a health emergency in Lahore and two other divisions from November 9 to 12.
All markets, malls, restaurants, cinemas, gymnasiums, schools and offices (public and private) will remain closed for four days in Lahore, Gujranwala and Hafizabad districts, according to a statement issued by the provincial health department. .
Increasing industrialization in South Asia in recent decades has fueled increasing pollution from factories, construction activities and vehicles in densely populated areas.
The problem becomes more acute in the cooler fall and winter months, as the temperature inversion prevents a layer of warm air from rising and traps pollutants closer to the ground.
Thick smog blanketed Lahore this week, reducing visibility and leading residents to complain of a health threat.
“The weather is such that everyone has a bad throat and bad eyes and everyone’s health is affected,” said Mohammad Salahuddin, a private guard in Lahore.
Rising air pollution could reduce life expectancy by more than five years per person in South Asia, one of the world’s most polluted regions, according to a report published in August that highlights the growing health burden of hazardous air .
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