'Ironical': As Delhi chokes under 'severe' and 'hazardous' air, Twitter slams Prayas for making kids run in marathon without protective masks

FP Staff

As Delhi's air quality index plummeted to new lows, it remained in the 'severe' category on Thursday morning as the private and government-run schools in the National capital remained closed for Thursday and Wednesday, there was a growing outrage over the marathon 'Run for Children', where children were seen running without proper protective gears or masks. The AQI on Thursday morning was measured at 472.

The marathon was flagged off from Chanakyapuri's Vinay Marg. The overall AQI of Delhi was on "hazardous" levels for most of Thursday and in Chanakyapuri area, according to Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the AQI was measured at 475 and stayed in the "severe" category.

The initiative wasn't well received after Twitter users saw pictures of students running in the marathon and blamed the organisers for holding such an event at a time when the city choked on extremely polluted air. Twitterati also slammed the organisers for holding the marathon on Children's Day.

This comes a day after the AAP-led Delhi government took stock of the hazardous air quality and announced that all the government and private schools will remain shut till 15 November "in view of the deteriorating situation due to stubble pollution in North India". The decision was taken following an order from the Supreme Court-mandated anti-pollution authority EPCA as the air quality hovered close to 'emergency' levels.

The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority also extended the ban on hot-mix plants and stone-crushers in Delhi-NCR till 15 November. The apex court had on 4 November banned construction and demolition activities in the region till further orders.

On its 31st anniversary, Prayas €" a non-governmental organisation based in Delhi €" on Thursday organised a marathon for children called 'Run for Children' in the National Capital. Former Miss India, model and actor, Simran Kaur Mundi flagged off the event.

Delhi is one of the world's most polluted cities, a sobering fact its residents are reminded of every winter when the visibility in the city is low and mostly remains engulfed by thick smog.

The Air Quality Index on Thursday in Delhi and National Capital Region docked at 474 with particulate matter (PM) 2.5 levels at 322 and PM 10 levels at 487 at 8.30 in the morning, reported SAFAR.

With the levels of particulate matter at alarming levels, the event was conducted at a time when one of the guidelines of SAFAR asks to avoid all outdoor physical activities. The forecaster also recommended avoiding exposure to the outside air by closing windows and fresh air intake options on air conditioners.

As air pollution levels are nearing 'severe plus category', schools in Noida, Ghaziabad and Delhi have been shut for two days starting on Thursday, hours after the apex court-mandated anti-pollution authority EPCA ordered on Wednesday that they should be closed as pollution in the region hovered close to 'emergency' levels.

On a closer look, children and infants are more susceptible than adults to air pollution as they still developing and their respiratory tracks are more permeable.

Parents of the participants present at the event told ANI on the rising menace and said that higher air pollution exposure is causing eye irritation and other health problems among their children. "Children are falling ill due to toxic air. Some of the participants have also missed the marathon due to pollution today. One boy while running puked and is now taking rest," said Payal, another parent.

With inputs from ANI 

Also See: Delhi air pollution: SC-mandated body orders closure of schools in Delhi-NCR on Thursday, Friday as AQI touches emergency levels

Air quality in Delhi-NCR remains in 'severe' category; likely to improve by Friday, says SAFAR

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