Usman Buzdar, Punjab's chief minister announced that schools would be closed because of the concerning rise of levels in air pollution.
Pakistani authorities ordered the closure of schools in Lahore, capital of Punjab, the second most populated city in the Asian country after levels of smog have increased dangerously in the last few days.
The precautionary measure was announced by Usman Buzdar, Punjab's chief minister. The pollution is caused by a mixture frigid temperatures, vehicle emissions, dirty industry and stubble.
Another cause to the smog is the widespread crop burning in the surrounding province. The practice is popular among poor farmers, who set fire to remnants of the previous season's crop to prepare the land for their next planting.
The United States consulate in the city called on its staff to be careful with the “extremely hazardous” levels of air pollution and warned residents to stay inside, do not open any windows or doors. The air quality monitor there showed that the concentration of small particles of pollution crept over 600. Levels over 100 are considered unhealthy and levels over 200 considered very unhealthy.
Heavy traffic, open fires for cooking and warmth as well as years of cutting down trees have all contributed to the city's poor air quality; a situation that concerns South Asian, in general.
The region has become the world epicenter for smog in recent years. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh contain 18 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world with Gurugram, south west of New Delhi, taking the top spot according to a study released by released by Greenpeace and IQ AirVisual, which collects worldwide air pollution.
Politicians from both, India and Pakistan, have each blamed the other for the rise of the polluted air. Smog in Delhi earlier this week also caused officials to close schools, divert flights and limit the number of vehicles allowed on the city's roads.
In Lahore, the air quality measure had improved by Thursday morning, with the level falling to around 150. Officials said rain had helped clean the air.