The Delhi High Court has ruled that the Delhi Half Marathon will go on as scheduled for Nov. 19 despite the Indian capital being covered in thick brown smog due to toxic air pollution.
Race organizers plan to have two medical camps, 100 nurses, 75 doctors and a local hospital available for those in need of attention during the race. Several parts of the course will be doused with water and various mist fans will be installed. The Indian Medical Association asked for the race to be postponed due to the air quality but the high court has ruled otherwise.
The race will feature 2017 Boston Marathon and world champion Geoffrey Kirui and 10,000m Olympic gold medalist and world champion Almaz Ayana. Ayana holds the world record at 10,000 meters and will be making her debut over 13.1 miles. The winners will each take home $27,000, according to race organizers.
The air pollution levels reached a stage, where it was 30 times over the World Health Organization's safe limits, which medics would equate to smoking 50 cigarettes in a day. The pollution has been traced to low wind speeds, crop burning, vehicle emissions, construction, road dust and firecrackers used from festivals in the area.
People in Delhi have complained of stinging eyes, chest pains, and coughing due to the choking air. It is estimated that air pollution kills more than half a million people in India and Pakistan every year.