Storm on social media: Who let the smog out?

Twitterati voice concern over usual weather, berate govt


Our Correspondent November 04, 2016
Commuters wear masks as thick smog envelops Lahore. PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE: While smog continues to disrupt routine life, the unusual weather has also made waves on the microblogging website Twitter, where some have expressed serious concerns over the situation while others have mocked authorities and taken pot-shots at political rivals.

The dense cloud of smog settled over Lahore has stirred debates over the unusual weather condition, linking it to serious health hazards. But as people continue to battle out the toxic smog, some have taken their frustration to the cyber world where the subject has received a mixed response.

Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq took his concerns to Twitter on Friday and advised the government to learn a lesson from the thick smog across the province and formulate a thorough environment policy to address the alarming situation.

Building a new narrative over the smoggy situation, Jamaatud Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed took the opportunity to bash Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The environment of South Asia is polluted because of Modi’s presence in Delhi. This is what should worry the people of Indo-Pak more than smog,” read his tweet, which managed to get over 200 retweets and around the same number of likes on Twitter.

Television anchor Mubasher Lucman pointed out a potential business idea to exploit the situation. The fiery anchor tweeted that while the smog was here to stay should people start expecting ‘designer masks’ for children.

“The smog is here to stay. Can we now expect some designer masks for our kids? Great business opportunity for some,” his tweet read.

Earlier, on November 2, a tweet on the account of the provincial government stated the chief minister constituted a committee, including government officials and experts, to deliberate over the existing environment that is thick with smog all over the city.

The 19-member committee was tasked to devise a contingency plan on precautionary measure that people should take in the present situation.

Lighter side

While some people cited religious contexts over the smog issue, others conjured conspiracy theories over the environmental phenomenon.

Stand-up comedian Junaid Akram mocked the theories making rounds that the blast at the ship-breaking yard in Gadani near Karachi caused smog in Lahore. “A dude on Facebook says the smog in Lahore is due to a ship that got burnt at Karachi port. Like, wow,” stated his tweet.

Besides, wishing to capture themselves in photos with masks on, people have also posted selfies with the protective gear donned on social media.

However, reports regarding a forecast published by National Aeronautics and Space Administration were also making rounds. The reports state that high levels of fire and thermal anomalies in areas, including Indian Punjab and portions of Pakistan, are behind the dense smog. It read that burning of straw in India and industrial and vehicular emissions were some of the reasons.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 5th, 2016.

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