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5 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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Cricketers struggle in Delhi’s hazardous smog

AFP

AFP, NEW DELHI: Indian and Sri Lankan cricketers battled through hazardous smog levels in a Test match Monday as New Delhi authorities faced scathing criticism over their lack of action to combat pollution.

A day after protests by Sri Lankan players temporarily halted the third Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium, the third day's play went ahead in even worse smog.

The concentration of the smallest and most harmful airborne pollutants hit 448, about 18 times the World Health Organization's safe level, just before the players took lunch.

Lower but still hazardous smog levels the day before prompted Sri Lanka's fielders to wear face masks, and their coach Nic Pothas said some vomited in the dressing room Sunday.

Sri Lanka's substitutes wore facial coverings on Monday when running drinks to their batsmen on the pitch.

Visiting skipper Dinesh Chandimal appeared uneasy in the morning and called for his trainer, while fellow batsman Angelo Mathews took regular water breaks, but the pair went on to hit a century each.

Indian players did not wear masks while fielding Monday, but paceman Mohammed Shami acknowledged it was "a matter of concern".

“It wasn't as bad as it was made out to be, though that might be because we're used to it,” Shami said after the match.

“It's my belief that we should reduce factors which cause pollution, as at the end of the day it's us who get affected.”

An environmental court, the National Green Tribunal, lambasted the Indian capital's government for letting the game go ahead and for its lack of action over the smog.

The court's lead judge Justice Swatanter Kumar also ordered the city to file a proposed plan of action against pollution within 48 hours. The city had pleaded for more time.

“Every newspaper has been carrying headlines that the air pollution was going to be higher this week. Still you took no action,” Kumar was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.

“You should have not held the match if the air quality was so bad,” he added.

Pollution levels generally rise during the winter in Delhi, pushed up by crop burning in states near the capital. But the smog has become alarming in the past two years.

India's hosting of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in October was dogged by fears of pollution, with matches deliberately kept out of Delhi after the Diwali festival when smog levels traditionally soar.

“You can't host sport events in Delhi from Diwali till end of Feb, at least. It is a fact,” tweeted the tournament's director Javier Ceppi.

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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