While Lahoris are struggling to breathe in the extremely polluted air of Lahore, people all around the nation have started making memes on this topic. It’s not new for our country to be in a crisis and the citizens make fun of it; from COVID-19 to the greatest inflation in Pakistan’s history, I can find you a meme for any of these topics.
I do not oppose people tackling the situation with fun and humor, but I have a question that some need to answer. Is the matter of extreme air pollution in Lahore actually meme-worthy? Or is it a time for us to stand together as a nation and worry about the worsening conditions of Lahore?
I believe the latter one makes more sense because the air quality index of Lahore is at the point where Lahoris should just leave the city and move to somewhere with air and not smog and pollutants in the air.
While I scrolled through my social media, I saw tens of posts, that instead of giving out support to Lahoris in this crisis, were busy making fun of this deadly condition.
The silent meme war between major cities of Pakistan has been on for many years, or I would say, from the day social media entered our country. But the fact that we don’t look at each other as a nation but as Lahori, Karachiite, or Islamabadi isn’t making anything any better.
Maybe it’s time for us to think about the importance of our words and how they may be spreading hate without us even knowing. And maybe it’s also time for us as a nation to start standing together when times are hard instead of calling out the people of specific cities and making fun of them.
Now, if we talk about the current conditions in Lahore, it’s a time of worry for each of its citizens. Medical experts don’t want citizens to leave their homes unless it’s extremely necessary. First Covid-19 had us all wear masks, and now it’s the air pollution; maybe we’ll just add face masks in our monthly ration from now on.
While the Punjab Government has made several statements regarding the actions they are taking to reduce the smog in Lahore, Lahoris are still unable to see any change in the air quality. With that being said, Punjab Minister for Environmental Protection Department, Muhammad Rizwan, said that brick kilns and factories will be monitored and the ones causing harm to the air pollution will be sealed. Lahoris do appreciate all these steps, but how is the Government controlling pollution caused by the traffic? It’s time we get some practical answers, as words only aren’t helping anymore.
Before the air quality dropped in Lahore, Lahoris were already struggling with dengue attacks. With people dying of dengue every day, Lahore citizens were hoping for better days to come; instead, they got an even deadly thing to cope with.
I am not an air quality expert but would it be wrong for Pakistan Government to do some research and look for ways in which China and other countries solved the problem of worsening air quality? Right now, China is totally winning at the air quality index, when once Beijing was at the place where Lahore is right now. It’s a sign that our Government takes the same measures as China to make Lahore a liveable and breathable city again.
Lastly, I request all the meme pages to stop spreading hate through memes targeting the weak point of Lahore right now. It’s not just another normal incident in Lahore, it’s a total disaster, and Lahoris need support from their Pakistani brothers.
By Ayesha Ahmed