New Delhi: For the first time in history, Air Pollution halted International cricket match in the national capital’s Ferozshah Kotla stadium on Sunday. The third Test between India and Sri Lanka saw the game being temporarily held up due to ‘poor air quality’, with Sri Lankan players sporting air masks on the field and complaining about breathlessness. The Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital rose to the levels that were last recorded in November, when Delhi government declared the national emergency in the city. And as soon as the match was disrupted, netizens started posting about all the commotion and frustration on Twitter.
Umpires are not equipped to make such decisions. It has to be decided by health experts. But the objective should be to play as far as is possible https://t.co/qzbEfrBl8s
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) December 4, 2017
Cricketer Gautam Gambhir criticising the political apathy towards tackling Air Pollution, said the government is overlooking the pollution problem, and debating film releases and drawing diet charts for the people instead of addressing real issues. He said,
“3rd Test, Day 2 scores from Ferozeshah Kotla, Delhi:
Sri Lanka (1st innings): 131/3
Air Quality Index (1st innings): 316 without loss!!! And our leaders r debating film releases,drawing our diet-chart, searching 4 another excuse to blame govt. at d Centre n vice-versa…”
3rd Test, Day 2 scores from Ferozeshah Kotla, Delhi:
Sri Lanka (1st innings): 131/3
Air Quality Index (1st innings): 316 without loss!!! And our leaders r debating film releases,drawing our diet-chart, searching 4 another excuse to blame govt. at d Centre n vice-versa… pic.twitter.com/lKeHa64DpY
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) December 3, 2017
While former Pakistan Cricket Captain Imran Khan said,
“This should be a wakeup call for Pakistan. Our children are at a huge risk because of dangerous pollution levels. We must mobilise the entire nation and take steps to fight climate change & pollution.”
This should be a wakeup call for Pak. Our children are at a huge risk because of dangerous pollution levels. We must mobilise the entire nation and take steps to fight climate change & pollution. https://t.co/oggp1dOejR.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) December 4, 2017
Roshan Abeysinghe, a Radio Cricket Commentator from Sri Lanka added, “Really sad and disappointed to read the response from people especially some former players on SL’s using masks to overcome the smog and pollution! Isn’t it fair that they protect themselves?”
And there were some more reactions.
Match stopped due to pollution #IndvSL pic.twitter.com/H8SgDYtuJo
— Karan Talwar (@BollywoodGandu) December 3, 2017
"Four players were vomiting. A couple of players were struggling to breathe'' – Sri Lanka Cricket spokesman. #INDvSL #SriLanka #LKA #delhipollution
— Daniel Alexander (@daniel86cricket) December 3, 2017
Play being halted due to smog/pollution in Delhi has to be a wake up call for everybody ! Like seriously !
— Archana Vijaya (@archanavijaya) December 3, 2017
The last time Srilankans saw such poor air quality, Hanuman was in Lanka. #INDvSL
— Vighnesh Rane (@Vighrane01) December 3, 2017
Delhi better do something about its #airpollution. #SriLanka cricketers wearing masks at Kotla may have been making a point but Delhi residents have to live in unhealthy smog. Will someone clean up the air and stop playing games @IndianDiplomacy pic.twitter.com/ItUPHiPPN3
— Sanjay Bhattacharyya (@SecySanjay) December 3, 2017
On Sunday, the Air Quality Index reached 351 which is rated as ‘very poor’, while the concentration of PM2.5 and PM10 was about 378 and 223 microgram per cubic meter (ug/m3). Whereas, the safe standards for PM2.5 and PM10 are 60 and 100 ug/m3 respectively.
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Concerned with Delhi’s deteriorating air quality, on Monday, National Green Tribunal slammed Delhi Government and authorities for holding the match in Delhi, despite air quality in the region being at hazardous levels. The green court has also set a strict deadline for the Delhi government and has asked them to submit the action plan on the steps taken to curb air pollution in the city within 48 hours.