New Delhi: Despite the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi on Thursday dropping dangerously low to 270.86 with major pollutants PM 2.5, tens of thousands of runners signed up for the upcoming half marathon on Sunday along with other races in the capital city.

According to ANI report, the air quality in Delhi touched 391 at Inner Circle, Connaught Place, classified under “very poor”, and posing serious health hazards if exposed for a prolonged duration.

A total of 40,633 people have registered for the 21 km, the 10 km, and the 5 km races in this year’s Delhi half marathon, as opposed to 34,916 in 2018.

The 2019 Delhi Half Marathon, organised by Bharti Airtel, which sees hoards of participants every year, was moved to a prior date this time to avoid the sharp rise in pollutants during and as a result of the Hindu festival of Diwali.

Moreover, farmers burning crop stubble in preparation of the next harvest season, add to the pollution in large quantities.

Last year, the marathon also witnessed many runners wearing masks while participating in the event.

Calling for emergency on the AQI situation, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced an ‘Odd-Even’ car scheme and decided that no citizen, barring women. The state’s pollution control scheme starts on November 4 – 8 am to 8 pm, except on Sundays – to reduce the heightening pollution in the national capital region.

Kejriwal clarified that even Delhi Ministers will not be exempted from the odd-even scheme. He further said that violators will be fined Rs 4,000.

Delhi CM Kejriwal had earlier described the capital city as a “gas chamber” during winters. Doctors have advised people living in or traveling to the national capital to restrict outdoor activities and warned runners to beware of the risks involved.