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As pollution worsens Indian doctors call for postponing Delhi Half Marathon

Air pollution in the Indian capital is raising concerns over the safety of the runners.

SAN JOSE, CA - OCTOBER 7: General view of the start during the Michelob Ultra Rock 'n' Roll San Jose 1/2 Marathon and 10K on October 7, 2018 in San Jose, California.   Donald Miralle/Getty Images of Rock 'n' Roll/AFP

Doctors in India have called for the immediate postponement of the Delhi Half Marathon as air pollution has worsened sooner in the year than usual, posing a risk to runners.

The race – which will be celebrating its 11th edition - is slated to be held on 21 October.

However, with the air quality index (AQI) hovering in the “poor” to “very poor” range, the Central Pollution Control Board has considered the Half Marathon unhealthy.

Concern over runners’ safety

According to officials, the recent burning of crop stubble in the northern states of Punjab and Haryana has caused pollution levels to rise.

Along with this, vehicle and thermal power station emotions as well as swirling construction dust, are Delhi’s main pollutants.

The Heart Care Foundation of India has declared that runners are at risk of lung infections and other complications from the poor air quality.

'This is also the time when pollution levels are likely to be extremely high, with poor air quality,' it said in a statement, warning that this could aggravate lung diseases such as asthma.

'In light of this, the Heart Care Foundation of India has called for the immediate postponement of the Delhi Half Marathon to a later date, when the air quality is better.”

However, race organizers – Procam International – assured that all necessary measures have been put in place to counter the pollution.

Air pollution not as bad as previous year's reading

“The October reading of the air pollution is substantially less than the previous year and we have already put in place adequate measures to tackle it,” Procam International’s Vivek Singh said.

More than 32,000 runners competed in last year’s race, some of them wearing masks.

They were all exposed to high levels of PM2.5 and PM10 - tiny particulate matters that can reach deep into the lungs and that may increase blood pressure and even cause a stroke.

This year’s event is expected to be contended by more than 35,000 running enthusiasts.


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