Cricket WC in Delhi's Choking Air: What Safety Measures Did Dr Guleria Suggest?

How was players’ safety ensured during Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh World Cup match in Delhi? Dr Randeep Guleria explains

2 min read
Hindi Female

As Delhi continues to make headlines for once again becoming the most polluted city in the world, it also hosted an ICC Men's Cricket World Cup match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh on Monday, 6 November.

While there were speculations of the match being rescheduled, considering the circumstances, it was ultimately greenlit after consulting with experts and putting mitigation measures in place to minimise the blow of the pollution players, according to reports.

"The BCCI engaged the services of renowned Pulmonologist Dr Randeep Guleria to assess the situation in Delhi ahead of Monday's game and provide independent expert advice," an ICC spokesperson was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

FIT spoke to Dr Randeep Guleria, Chairman – Institute of Internal Medicine, Respiratory & Sleep Medicine, Medanta Gurugram, about the safety measures that were recommended.


Cricket in the Time of Air Pollution: What Safety Measures Were Taken?

Speaking to FIT, Dr Gularia said, "Air is something that cannot be controlled and it is not possible to bring down the Air Quality Index (AQI) of an open stadium. But the dust exposure can be brought down by using sprinklers and by managing traffic around the stadium."

Dr Guleria also added that the use of air purifiers was recommended in the indoor areas where they sit.

"Where they are sitting outside, if that space could have a plastic barrier and an air purifier could be put inside, that could also give them added protection in a closed space."
Dr Randeep Guleria

According to the ICC spokesperson, the mitigation measures recommended by Dr Guleria were implemented prior to and during the match.

"The AQI within the stadium was monitored throughout the day which has reduced to levels considered acceptable by Dr Guleria," he was quoted as saying by PTI.

What about large air purifiers like the ones used in the Beijing Olympics? "That is an option, but they are not practical in our set-up," said Dr Guleria.


Should You Exercise Outdoors During Air Pollution

Experts recommend against doing strenuous exercise outdoors when the air quality is as bad as it is in many parts of the country right now.

"If the AQI is in the severe range, people should avoid exercising outside, especially for long periods," Dr Gularia told FIT.

He added that this is especially discouraged for the elderly and those who have pre-existing cardiorespiratory diseases.

In fact exercising outdoors during pollution, even just going for a walk can do more harm than good, say experts.

While speaking to FIT for a previous article, Dr Sushila Kataria, Senior Director, Internal Medicine, Medanta Hospital, Gurugram, too advised, "Someone who is used to early morning and evening walks and runs should switch to indoor exercises."

What are some signs that your body is running on fumes?

Dr Gularia say, if you experience these symptoms while exercising in a polluted area, you should stop.

  • Breathlessness

  • Constricting sensation in the chest

  • Tightening of the chest

  • Wheezing, and wheezing sound from the chest

  • Some degree of persistent cough

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