Hours before the arrival of Bangladesh cricket team for their first T20 international match here today, two Indian environmental groups wrote to Indian cricket Board President Sourav Ganguly seeking the shifting of the venue of the outing from Delhi saying the rapidly deteriorating air quality in the Indian capital could prove a health risk for players and spectators.
The spike in the pollution level in Delhi and surrounding areas after Diwali has become a cause for concern ahead of the international match at Arun Jaitley Stadium on November 3.
Care For Air and My Right To Breathe are clean air awareness and advocacy non-profit organizations.
“Thousands of innocent spectators at the venue will also be putting themselves at risk in order to watch the match in the prevailing situation,” they said. The environmentalists said outdoor aerobic activities raise the respiration rate of the human body, thus depositing even higher levels of toxins into our lungs and organs. “This puts our sportspersons at even greater risk when they play outdoors. Any match played outdoors harms the health and very lives of the players and it is irresponsible to schedule such sporting activities during times of such toxic air quality,” they said.
On Monday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had expressed the hope that pollution will not affect the T20 match and said his government has been taking steps to improve the air quality. A day later, a haze turned Delhi’s skies grey as the air quality entered the second-worst “severe” category.