Making children sprint in the Run for Unity in this polluted air would have miffed Sardar Patel

Experts have warned that inhaling the air, especially in the morning and evening, could have disastrous consequences on one’s health. But who is bothered about the kids' well-being?

 |  2-minute read |   31-10-2018
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Among the many advisories issued to avoid inhaling the poison in the air in most parts of India is a suggestion to avoid early morning workouts.

So high is the level of air pollution in the morning hours that people are advised to avoid even stepping out of their houses.

In complete disregard of the warning though, many north Indian cities battling dangerous levels of pollution saw people, including children, running as part of the 'Run for Unity', organised on the occasion of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s 143rd anniversary.    

The Central Pollution Control Board has advised people not to venture out for jogs and running as toxic fumes from the stubble-burning regions of Punjab and Haryana could gush in because of a change in wind direction.

Experts have warned that inhaling the air, especially in the morning and after sun-down, could have disastrous consequences on one’s health.

While all the enthusiasm surrounding the celebration of Patel’s legacy is fine, putting at risk the health of children is not the best way to do it.

If at all children had to be sensitised towards the contributions made by Patel, it could have been done by organising talks and discussions in schools. There was absolutely no need to ask them to run on roads to pay their tribute to Patel, given the air quality surrounding us.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) on Wednesday was reported at 'very poor'.

According to a World Health Organisation report, Air Pollution and Child Health: Prescribing Clean Air, India saw 60,987 deaths of children under five years of age in 2016 that could be linked to their exposure to PM2.5.

The pollution crisis in India has been urgent for years: 14 of the 20 most polluted cities of the world are in India, according to the WHO.

The political will to take on the challenge is clearly lacking.

But the recklessness to push children into gas chambers knowing very well about the consequences is unpardonable.  

Patel would have himself not wanted his birthday to be celebrated by compromising the health of children.

Also read: Statue of Unity: Patel was a unifier. Today, more than ever, we should honour his legacy

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