After the recent surge in the Lahore’s Air Quality Index (AQI) from less than 200 to more than 500, the Chief Minister (CM) Usman Buzdar ordered the closure of schools for one day so that children could be protected from inhaling the toxic air. But is it a real solution to Lahore’s smog or its polluted air?

For the past few years, smog has been making life miserable for the residents of Lahore. While people complain about the air they breathe, the government tries to find a scapegoat for the bad air quality. Sadly, the makers of Naya Pakistan borrowed some arguments from the rulers of the old Pakistan. Instead of taking corrective measures, most of its members blame Indian farmers for the smog.

But the relevant authorities show no concern to the smog that has become a big issue. Zartaj Gul Wazir, who oversees the Ministry of Climate Change, tells us that the air monitoring companies misrepresent the smog situation of Lahore. One can only be surprised by her ignorance of the problem. One cannot but marvel at her audacity and callousness. Instead of recognising that the government should take concrete steps to reduce air pollution, the State Minister for Climate Change terms people’s concerns as ‘propaganda’.

And how could Adviser to the Prime Minister (PM) on Climate Change Malik Amin let it go not showing his callousness? He tries to assuage the public concerns by comparing the AQI of Lahore with that of New Delhi. As if comparing the AQIs of the two cities could ward off the smog. It is essential to remind the government that the high level of smog is neither a new problem nor one that came without warning. Lahore, in particular, has been facing a high level of smog for the past few years. The government should have taken some corrective measures in advance. But, no! Why would the incumbent government feel bothered about climate change or take any step in advance to improve air quality? After all, Ms Zartaj enlightens us that great weather and timely rains are God’s gift to Pakistan for an honest man, Imran Khan, is now ruling the country. Let that sink in.

But coming back to the smog situation in Lahore, it is pertinent to ask the CM if closing schools for a day is the solution? It is not solving the problem in any way. The kids inhale the same air at home regardless. Only nature helped the government against the recent smog as it rained all night the previous night. The government needs to take concrete action to overcome the smog.