To: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee , Kolkata Police, National Insurance Company Limited
How can one go ahead with Kolkata Police SD Save Life Half Marathon 2018 with so much pollution?
As organizers and sponsors of the Kolkata Police Save Drive Save Life Half Marathon 2018 which is part of Road Safety Week 2018 (www.roadsafetyweek2018.org) , Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Kolkata Police, and National Insurance Company Limited must:
1. Postpone the Marathon to a time when air quality in Kolkata is within safety limits: sometime in March 2018 when the winter pollution high would have passed, and overall air quality would be more healthy for runners to participate.
2. Issue Health Advisories detailing the exact extent of lung and brain damage that runners risk experiencing if they participate without proper precautions.
3. Provide Air Masks for Runners.
It is a well established fact that regular exercise can improve brain health, and growing research suggests that the brain-deprived neurotropic factor (BDNF), a neurotropin, plays a key role in the process. However, increasing research also shows that exposure to air pollution can have adverse effects on the brain as well as lungs.
Kolkata is increasingly one of the most polluted cities in India with air quality levels 3 times or 300% more than WHO limits most of the time. During winters the Kolkata air gets even more toxic because of vehicular pollution, open fires, etc. as well as other weather conditions. In the last few days, Kolkata's air quality levels have dipped sharply, with many air monitoring stations showing PM levels above 250-300 which is 6 times the safety limits.
While most doctors advise not to even step out in this polluted air, Kolkata Police & National Insurance Company organizing a Half Marathon in this gas chamber is a foolish and criminal idea. The awareness levels of impact of breathing polluted air is extremely low among runners, The least they can do is issue a health advisory and precautions that need to be taken by the runners on race day, if not control vehicular pollution from before and at other times too.
P.S. The wording and content of this petition is significantly borrowed from https://act.airalert.in/petitions/issue-air-pollution-advisory-on-race-day , with modifications to reflect the worsening pollution realities in Kolkata,
since felt similarly helpless today seeing same issue as Kolkata Police Save Drive Save Life Half Marathon is approaching in a couple of days on 7th January 2018, and air pollution AQIN skyrocketed to 261 in the same area even in afternoon itself on today 5th January 2018.
Why is this important?
The intake of air increases considerably when we exercise, because we take deeper and more frequent breaths. An athlete running at 70 percent of VO2 max (roughly equivalent to easy running pace) for about three hours inhales the same volume of air as a sedentary person would over the course of two days.
Heavy metals and carcinogens, however, cannot be metabolized by the liver and do remain in the body. Athletes who train in cities accumulate higher levels of lead in their blood than those who train in rural areas.
The respiratory effects of particulate matter—matter suspended in the atmosphere—can be chronic. Increased particulate concentration leads to more frequent severe respiratory symptoms for asthmatics and non asthmatics alike. “Individuals with pre-existing respiratory and/or cardiac disorders are at a risk of acute effects from exposure to particles. The effects can range from changes in lung function through increased symptoms and days of restricted activity to hospital admission and premature mortality.”
How it will be delivered
Currently hoping to email the same, if I can get a response to individual complaint already filed.
If no response then will seek help of press depending on scale of response.