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Lahore Faces Environmental Emergency as Toxic Air Prompts Shutdown

Lahore, Pakistan’s second-most populous city, experienced a shutdown due to hazardous air quality. The air quality index (AQI) in Lahore spiked to over 400, prompting the closure of schools, public parks, malls, and offices. The situation was declared an “environmental and health emergency” in three cities—Gujranwala, Hafizabad, and Lahore—by the chief minister of Punjab province. Movement to and from these areas was limited, and gatherings of more than four people were restricted. The toxic air was attributed to the burning of leftover rice stubble by farmers, combined with vehicular and industrial pollution. The concentration of PM 2.5 reached hazardous levels, prompting health concerns. Rain showers on Friday provided some relief by reducing air pollution levels.

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