People are mocking the prime minister after he said no one has to wear masks in KathmanduTwitterati took to social media to counter PM's claim of dust and pollution free Kathmandu
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s remarks on Saturday that no one these days has to wear masks to protect themselves from dust and pollution in Kathmandu has social media aflutter, with users questioning which world he lives in and posting images of people in masks in public places.
One Twitter user, Gita Rasaili (@rasaili_gita), posted a photo of several people wearing masks along a text saying “Hajur, no one is wearing masks”.
हजुर मास्क लगाएकै छैन । pic.twitter.com/Y2KcFfAT3g— Gita Rasaili (@rasaili_gita) June 30, 2019
Khagendra Sangraula (@belakoboli), a commentator and writer, countered the PM’s claim by posting an image that was earlier uploaded by Bollywood actor Juhi Chawla during her recent visit to Nepal.
In his tweet, Sangraula said the prime minister's statement makes a mockery of what the general people have to face in their everyday life.
सडक खाली गरेर एसी गाडीमा कालाे शीशाभित्र सवार भएर भन्छ-"म प्रम हुँदा काठमाडाैँका अाधा मानिस मास्क लाएर हिँड्थे,अहिले कसैले लाउनु पर्दैन।"— Khagendra Sangroula (@belakoboli) June 30, 2019
याे नागरिककाे कष्टप्रतिकाे क्रूर ठट्टा हाे,मान्यवर।कूर प्रमकाे शृङ्खलामा यति क्रूर प्रम याे देशमा सायद कहिल्यै भएकाे थिएन।हैट् लद्दु जिन्दगी! pic.twitter.com/fQz38NjOgW
While speaking at a programme organised to mark the 68th birth anniversary of late communist leader Madan Bhandari, Oli had said the government had massively upgraded Kathmandu roads, that people do not have to wear masks any more and that people were criticising the government for the sake of it.
His statement also comes at a time when a recent study conducted by the Nepal Health Research Council suggested that about 12 percent of the country’s population—aged 20 years and above—has been found to be suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
According to the study, increasing air pollution in urban areas—caused mostly by emissions from vehicles and industries (particularly brick kilns) and poorly managed road widening drives—was the major reason for the rise in the cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
This is not the first time Oli has talked about how his government has been successful in ridding Kathmandu of dust and pollution. In the first week of May, while addressing a Parliament meeting, Oli said that Kathmandu “now has become a dust-free city” and that no one uses masks.
That remark also had not gone down well with members of the general people who had taken to social media to say the prime minister did not have the slightest of understanding of the city’s pollution levels, and the problems the people are facing because of it.
Several studies, including one by the US-based Health Effects Institute, have stated Nepal has the highest levels of air pollution—100 μg/m3— in the world where annual exposure to PM2.5 particulate matter can cause breathing difficulties and cardiovascular issues.
The special report on global exposure to air pollution and its disease burden also stated that toxic air will shorten children’s lives by almost two years. And in recent years, pollution levels in Kathmandu Valley have surged at unhealthy and hazardous levels, increasing health risks for citizens.
After Saturday’s remarks by Oli, other social media users called upon their followers to upload pictures of them wearing masks while travelling outside. One twitter user Prakash Khanal urged the prime minister to walk or travel on a two-wheeler on Kathmandu roads.
“I invite Honourable Prime Minister to take a walk or travel on a two-wheeler along the Kalanki-Narayan Gopal Chowk road section as a general public and without wearing a mask,” wrote Khanal. “This road section is just one instance. You (PM Oli) can take this invitation as a challenge.”
प्रधानमन्त्री ज्यूलाई म हरेक बिहान कलङ्की देखी नारायण गोपाल चोक सम्म आम जनता भएर बिना मास्क पैदल अथवा दुई पाङ्ग्रे सवारीमा यात्रा गर्न सादर निमन्त्रणा गर्दछु। यो पदमार्ग एउटा उदाहरण मात्रै हो। यो निमन्त्रणालाई चुनौतीका रुपमा पनि लिन पाउनुहुन्छ।— prakash khanal #GlazersOut (@Prox_Redevil) June 30, 2019
म काठमन्डुमा यसरि हीड्न लागेको १ वर्ष ४ महिना भयो।— ANIL ADHIKARI (@aniladhikari300) June 30, 2019
(नोट: यो गर्मिमा एसरी हिड्नु मेरो रहर होइन।) pic.twitter.com/MVxCx8v2V0