Taipei City Government to fine Color Run for pollution
By Katherine Wei, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taipei City Government's Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday that it will be fining the organizations that are responsible for pouring colored powder into the Keelung River after the Color Run was held.
September 30, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
The Color Run is a 5-kilometer long paint race that is held in many cities in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. The untimed event emphasizes fun over competition, with runners showered with colored powder at stations along the run but no prizes awarded at the end.
The event is owned and operated by The Color Run LLC, a for-profit company, which claims the marathon to be the “happiest 5 K on the planet,” and held its first official run in Taipei last Saturday. There will be another two held in Taichung and Kaohsiung.
The Taipei event had as many as 15,000 people participating, who were all decked in white and waiting for the shower of powdered dye.
As the excitement died down after the race ended and the runners left, the DOH received complaints from residents living near Dajia Riverside Park — where the race was held — that the organizers were pouring the dissolvable powder into the Keelung River. The river was transformed into a bright scarlet strip of water.
“The act of dumping the powder ... has violated the Water Pollution Control Act,” said the DOH.
“The Color Run administrators may be facing a fine from NT$30,000 to NT$300,000 as the DOH personnel have discovered that the complaints were true; similar actions are usually fined NT$70,000,” said DOH official Yang Wei-hsiu (楊維修).
There have not been any reports of fish dying because of the powder, but the DOH will be monitoring the outcome of pouring colored powder into rivers and call upon future administrators of similar events to clean up in an eco-friendly fashion after the races, said Yang.
IMG Worldwide, the company collaborating with The Color Run LLC, blamed the red river on the strong winds that blew on the day of the race. “The wind caused the powder to land in the river when the runners were racing and when the personnel were cleaning up. We are still recovering the park on Sunday and will take full responsibility in returning the park to its usual state,” said an IMG representative.
The powder is organic, toxic-free corn starch dyed with food coloring, and the combination will do no harm to the environment, IMG stressed.