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Delhi Half Marathon: Airtel warns organisers to address pollution worries

The organisers of Airtel Delhi Half Marathon have decided to sprinkle “salt mixed with effluent treated water” in order to negate dust pollution ahead of the race scheduled on November 19.

delhi Updated: Nov 06, 2017 17:00 IST
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Delhi Half Marathon,Air pollution,Delhi air quality
A participant wears a mask during the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon in November 2016. (Sanjeev Verma/HT File Photo)

Bharti Airtel, the title sponsor for the Delhi Half Marathon, on Monday asked organisers of the annual foot-race to address concerns of air pollution for it to continue the 10-year-old association, given the serious health risks to participants.

The half marathon, which first featured in 2005, is scheduled for November 19.

In a press statement, Bharti Airtel said it has been a strong supporter of the event over the last decade but has received “a lot of feedback from our customers and citizens at large expressing concern on holding the marathon in view of the prevailing air pollution in the city.”

“For the upcoming edition we have discussed the air quality issue with the organisers, Procam and they have assured us that they are taking several measures to minimise the impact of air pollution on the runners,” it said.

Airtel said the marathon, which infuses the spirit of fitness and good health, is a voluntary event and runners should take into consideration the environmental factors, including pollution and their health, while participating.

“Air pollution poses serious health risks and it is important that these concerns are addressed urgently and appropriately by the authorities for Airtel to continue association with the event next year and beyond,” the statement said.

A team of professionals is being deployed by Procam before the race to sprinkle salt mixed with effluent treated water across the entire track to ensure that the dust pollution is negated. Also, no vehicles will be plying on the route of the marathon.

The race was sponsored by Hutchison Essar for its first two years, and the company sponsored the event as Vodafone Essar in 2007 following a takeover. Airtel has held the sponsor role since 2008.

Procam in a press statement on November 4 said demands for cancellation or postponement of this year’s race were “shortsighted and misplaced”.

“The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon is inherently a panacea for the pollution issue plaguing Delhi. The race day keeps cars off the designated 21 km of the city, and salt mixed with effluent treated water that is used to wash the course, ensures that the dust pollution is negated making the race day far more conducive for running,” it said.

In the statement posted on its website, Procam said further updates and plans for race day will be shared at the countdown press conference on November 9.

“Procam International is continuously monitoring this situation and working with experts in the medical and ecological domain,” it said.

First Published: Nov 06, 2017 16:54 IST