Delhi Half Marathon amidst high pollution

first_imgAs many as 34,000 professional and ordinary runners are participating in the Delhi half marathon this Sunday. But with pollution levels still hovering around the very poor mark, many are asking if the health benefits of running a marathon are being outweighed by health risks of running right now.Environmental activist Jai Dhar Gupta in fact filed a petition in the Supreme court on Friday to bring the issue to notice. After speaking to many parties associated with the event, like the organisers, Airtel and even Max Hospitals, who are the official medical partners of the race, Gupta felt their last resort was to file a petition even if too late in the day.In the event that organisers themselves didn’t see reason to postpone the event, he felt at least the court can ask authorities to issue proper advisories to warn delhiites.”This is personal to me. My lungs were compromised when I was training for a marathon three years ago. We want people to see that this is not corporate responsibility but corporate irresponsibility. Our city in under an environmental emergency and running a marathon right now can cause significant damage.”  Former media professional, Ravina Raj Kohli was a co-petitioner with Gupta and while they didn’t get a hearing, she says that just registering a protest of this sorts was important to make people understand the issue and they will continue to pursue it to ensure in future guidelines are set. “I felt people knew the hazards but were not listening. Heavy worded advisories that don’t even reach the people are not enough. The government can use it’s machinery to ensure people are made aware. People may think they are indulging in a healthy activity but this is not healthy right now.”advertisement”Small changes could have been done like doing away with the race for elderly and children. Like changing the time from 8 am, when levels are really poor, to something less dangerous like noon,” she added.On Friday itself though, the Delhi High court did ask the Delhi govt to actively issue an advisory on running in prevalent conditions while hearing a larger pollution crisis matter. The court noticed that levels are 4 times of prescribed standards.Friday average numbers of particulate matter 2.5 (155 gm-3) and 10 (318 gm-3) continued to be in the very poor to poor range. And that is the same forecast for the coming three days too, coinciding with the marathon. Exposure to fine particles can cause short-term health effects such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. Exposure to fine particles can also affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease.last_img

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