The Indian Medical Association has urged organisers of the Delhi half marathon to cancel the event, citing air pollution, The Indian Express reported on Saturday. The event is scheduled to be held on November 19.
The IMA said it will write to the chief minister, the High Court chief justice and the National Green Tribunal chairperson to issue a similar directive. “If the AQI [air quality index] is above 100, it is prudent for race administrators to warn participants and volunteers, particularly those with lung conditions, about the potential risk,” said KK Aggarwal, the national president of IMA.
The Capital’s AQI has crossed the danger mark of 300 in many areas over the last few days while in other places it hovered between ‘very unhealthy’ and ‘severe’ levels.
Aggarwal said marathons and other sporting events around the world have been cancelled because of poor air quality. He cited the example of United States, Malaysia, Singapore. “While deciding the dates, the organisers should take into consideration the air quality at the time of the marathon so that no runner suffers any adverse effects on account of exposure to hazardous levels of air pollution,” Aggarwal added.
However, event organiser Procam International shot down the demand and called it “short-sighted and misplaced”. “The race day keeps cars off the designated 21 km of the city. Salt mixed with effluent-treated water is used to wash the course which ensures that dust pollution is negated making the race a far more conducive environment for running,” the organiser said in a statement, according to The Hindu.
They added that the runners were aware of the air quality situation in Delhi. The organisers said they would set up six medical stations across the distance and deploy seven ambulances.