As Cricketers Choke In Smog, Doctors Said No to Sports In Delhi

Fantastic visuals of Sri Lankan cricketers exhausting face masks on the field of cricket have reignited debate about treating major sports in heavily polluted New Delhi, where doctors are frequently vocal about the risks of health posed by smog. Doctors have actually pushed cricket’s governing body BCCI to improve its rulebook just after a Test Match between Sri Lanka and India went ahead in Delhi “The Capital of the Nation”, despite the players panting for air and saying they were ejecting.

All the cricketers returned on Monday i.e., yesterday for the third test of day three even as Air pollution at Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium soared to hit 18 times the World Health Organization’s safe level. The play had been disrupted 3 times on Sunday as SriLankan players complained of illness, but umpires decreed the match would proceed. The Indian Medical Association reprobated the decision, warning that playing in such conditions puts the health of athletes’ at serious risk.

“This match should not have taken place in the first place. It is the time the International Cricket Council comes up with a policy on pollution,” said IMA President K.K Aggarwal. “You have fast bowlers, batsmen and fielders out there presented to these very damaging pollutants over five days at a stretch. It takes a severe toll on your health in the long run,” he said. The Board of Control for Cricket in India, BCCI, rejected to comment. It has challenged Sri Lanka of making a “big fuss”, pointing to Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who hit a record sixth test double century despite the smog.

But the US Embassy website on Monday prompted Delhi residents to “avoid all outdoor exertion” as masses of the smallest and most harmful airborne pollutants known as PM2.5 soared to dangerous levels. These tiny little particles- a fraction of the size of a human hair– resort deep in the lungs and are associated with the higher rates of chronic bronchitis, heart disease and lung cancer. The mass of such particles Monday hit 448–compared to the highest level of 25 considered safe by the World Health Organization over a 24 hour period. Even the limited exposure can cause brevity of breath and make the throat burn and eyes weep.

Level of pollution generally rise during the winters in the capital of India and even across Northern India, basically fuelled by crop burning in the region and the fact that cooler air traps particulates close to the ground. The smog has especially converted alarming in the past couple of years, casting scepticism on the future of sports events. Doctors and campaigners of public health have intensified their battle against the events of sports in Delhi in recent years. Previous month around 30,000 runners battled in the Delhi half marathon, just a few days after smog shut schools amid a public health emergency in the Capital. Doctors threatened with dire health challenged and consequences the race in court but it went ahead, with runners complaining of sore throats and burning eyes.

Greenpeace lobbied in October against India organising the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, signalling it poses unacceptable risks to the World’s youngest soccer stars. It even proceeded but the whole schedule was adjusted to avoid Delhi at its worst. “Others should also think about athletes health first,” Tournament Director Javier Ceppi tweeted after the images of Sri Lankan cricketers wearing face masks went around the Globe. Even other attractions in Delhi like an Asian tour golf title in November and Indian Super League football matches drag less contention but doctors say pretend no less risk.

“Ideally, sporting events should not be scheduled in the winter months in Delhi,” chest and lung cancer specialist Doctor Arvind Kumar told. “We cannot expose our athletes to inhuman levels of pollution just because a few hundred crores is at stake.” The Test debacle in Delhi is not the first time cricketers have complained of air pollution in the capital, with Australia citing smoggy air following their loss to India in 1996.

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