New Delhi, Oct 13 (PTI) Ahead of Diwali, the government will flag off a mini marathon as part of its ‘Clean Air’ campaign to raise awareness about air pollution.

Unin ministers Harsh Vardhan and Mahesh Sharma will flag-off the marathon from India Gate on October 15, coinciding with the birth anniversary of former president Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, according to an official statement.

“The campaign is being launched to create a mass movement for reducing air pollution. The idea behind the campaign is to entrust a sense of responsibility among people, so as to consider clean air as a collective responsibility.

“In order to achieve the objective of ‘Clean India’ in a true sense, clean and pollution-free air needs to be a priority,” the statement said.

Taking forward the momentum of ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ and extending the ‘Harit Diwali-Swasth Diwali’ initiative, the “Swachh Hawa for Swachh and Swasth Bharat” campaign, is being launched by the Ministry of Environment.

“Air pollution is one of the pressing environmental challenges being faced at present. With the onset of winters, increased emissions from various existing sources and burning of crop residues, coincides with adverse meteorological conditions,” the statement said.

“The month of October 2017 is also important, as India is hosting the FIFA U-17 World Cup. The government has been taking various steps to address the issue,” it added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.