Every year I look forward to a new season of sports. Whether it’s soccer, basketball, or football, I am ready to follow some my favorite teams every weekend. Actually, anything sports related is always interesting but when an article popped up about how a sporting match was called off due to pollution it peaked my curiosity. Usually when we think of sporting events being cancelled we think of normal weather. For outdoor sporting events, we think of heavy rain, snow, thunderstorms, etc. stopping matches. But to see that a match was stopped because of pollution is something I have never heard of before.
Over the weekend a cricket match between India and Sri Lanka was cancelled due to heavy air pollution. The first to ever happen in the history of International Cricket. According to the Guardian article about the match the levels of harmful pollutants ranged at about 300 micrograms per cubic metre in parts of the Indian capital where the match was played. This number is 12 times the World Health Organization safe limit. The conditions were so bad one of the players Suranga Lakmal was seen vomiting from the air pollution. Lakmal had to be helped off the ground and escorted into the changing room to recover.
The incident also created a debate within the cricket community on whether they should allow these matches to occur during the winter when the pollution levels are highest. The reason being that during the winter the winds are much slower and air is trapped closer to the ground. So contributors like road dust, open fires, vehicle fumes, industrial emissions are increased.
The atmosphere in the Indian capital is very dense with carcinogenic chemicals that can easily penetrate deep into the lungs and breach the blood brain barrier. The article states that multiple studies have linked the pollution to higher rates of lung cancer, heart disease and chronic respiratory conditions.
As someone who doesn’t visit nature as much as I would like to, I still admire the earth and planet. We assume it will never happen to us in the US but anything is possible. All it takes is for us to not care and as our population expands it is always possible. On the bright side, it does look like the Indian government is moving towards a more green approach when tackling its energy issue. According to a recent New York Times article published in the summer of 2017, a nation who was once focused on coal is now moving towards the right direction. And any step away from fossil fuels is good.