In a move that came as a surprise to many, Commissioner Lahore Usman Younis announced a set of outdoor activities for the people of Lahore amid heavy smog in the city. The activities included a cycling race scheduled for November 20, a men’s marathon scheduled for November 27, and a women’s marathon for December 4.
People were shocked by the announcement as Lahore is currently facing a severe smog crisis. Earlier this week, Lahore was declared as the most polluted city in the world by a Swiss Air Quality monitor. Residents have been complaining of the dire situation, urging the government to take action.
Many reacted to the announcement on social media by calling it an absurd move. One user compared the actions being taken in Dehli, the Indian capital that has a similar smog problem, and the announcement made by the Commissioner.
Delhi has halted all construction. Closed educational institutes. Offices are operating at half strength. Most diesel vehicles are barred from entering city limits. While Lahore is holding a marathon. https://t.co/zVF7pbGooM
— Mian Mobeen Shafaat (@mobeenshafaat) November 19, 2021
Quidditch coming to Lahore?
(and why is The Flash taking part in the men's marathon?) pic.twitter.com/redfFNmxXF
— Awais Athar (@awaisathar) November 19, 2021
The tweet, in which the Commissioner announced the marathon, was deleted following the criticism on social media.
The government has been slow to act on the smog crisis. In fact, earlier this week Punjab Environmental Protection Minister Muhammad Rizwan had written a letter to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), asking them to take action against people who he alleged are spreading fake data about Lahore’s air quality on social media.
For the past several years, the city has been suffering from a chronic problem of smog and poor air quality. The city’s air quality constantly ranks above the hazardous level of 300 during the winter season. A mixture of low-grade diesel fumes and smoke from the seasonal crop burn are blamed for the poor air quality but concrete research on the actual causes is missing.