The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Wednesday announced that all bank branches will remain closed in smog-affected areas of Punjab, including Lahore, on Friday (November 10).
The SBP announcement comes in line with the decision of provincial authorities to impose health emergency in Lahore and other districts to deal with the worsening smog situation.
“As per the notification dated November 08, 2023 issued by the Government of Punjab, it has been decided that all banks/MFBs will remain closed their branches in Lahore Division (i.e. District Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Kasur), District Gujranwala. , District Hafizabad, District Sialkot and District Narowal on Friday, November 10, 2023,” read the central bank release.
A day earlier, the Punjab government had imposed health emergency in Lahore and two other divisions from November 9 to 12.
A statement issued by the provincial health department said all markets, shopping malls, restaurants, cinemas, gymnasiums, schools and offices (public and private) in Lahore, Gujranwala and Hafizabad divisions will remain closed for four days.
Increasing industrialization in South Asia in recent decades has led to increased emissions from factories, construction activities and vehicles in densely populated areas.
The problem becomes more severe in the cold autumn and winter months, as temperature inversions prevent a layer of warm air from rising and trapping pollutants closer to the ground.
Heavy smog blanketed Lahore this week, reducing visibility and residents complaining of threats to their health.
“The weather is such that everyone’s throat is sore and eyes are sore and everyone’s health is being affected,” said Mohammad Salahuddin, a private guard in Lahore.
Rising air pollution could cut per capita life expectancy by more than five years in South Asia, one of the world’s most polluted regions, according to a report published in August that highlighted the growing burden of hazardous air exposure on health. Is.