Delhi, December 7: The Indian Medical Association has told the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that it was "greatly troubled" over the Test match between India and Sri Lanka being played in Delhi amid high pollution levels.
In a letter to BCCI acting president C.K. Khanna and head of committee of administrators Vinod Rai, IMA president Dr K.K. Agarwal said the message that has gone home from the India and Sri Lanka cricket match is that it is safe for children to play cricket even when PM 2.5 levels are more than 300.
The five-day match, in which Sri Lankan players were seen wearing masks on the field, ended on Wednesday (December 6).
"Rain and poor light are taken into consideration when determining suitable playing conditions, we suggest that atmospheric pollution should now also be included in the assessing criteria for a match," the letter said.
Agarwal said air pollution impacts on performance of the athletes. In a situation where milliseconds and millimetres often determine success, air pollution can be an important factor in affecting their performance, he wrote.
He quoted from medical literature and journals and said poor air quality in the country's capital may increase the risk of lung and heart disease and precipitate an acute potentially life-threatening event.
The safe levels of atmospheric particulate matter (PM), according to World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines, are 20 µg/cu mm (annual mean) for PM10 and 10 µg/ cu mm (annual mean) for PM2.5.
If the air quality index (AQI) is between 151 and 200, it is recommended that outdoor exercises should be reduced.