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Delhi choked in annual smog season

Delhi choked in annual smog season

Thousands of runners brushed off health warnings Sunday to compete in the New Delhi half marathon, even as smog reached unhealthy levels in the city.

More than 34,000 runners hit the streets of the Indian capital for the 13.1 mile (21km) race that doctors wanted postponed because of Delhi’s atrocious winter smog.

The US embassy website Sunday showed levels of the smallest and most harmful airborne pollutants reached 199 at race time – eight times the World Health Organization’s safe maximum.

At such readings, outdoor exertion is strongly inadvisable and doctors warn prolonged exposure can trigger asthma attacks and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Some competitors wore face masks in Sunday’s race but others said conditions appeared better than last year, despite virtually identical pollution readings across the capital on both race days.

Every November, air pollution in northern India reaches levels unimaginable in most parts of the world. aFP

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