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India’s Air Pollution Casts Shadow Over Cricket World Cup

India’s Air Pollution Casts Shadow Over Cricket World Cup

India’s Air Pollution Casts Shadow Over Cricket World Cup

India’s Air Pollution Casts Shadow Over Cricket World Cup

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  • Cricket stars alarmed by India’s hazardous air during World Cup.
  • Smog crisis questions India’s 2036 Olympic bid.
  • Influential figures highlight India’s severe air pollution.
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As the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 unfolds in India, the deteriorating smog and hazardous air quality in several major cities hosting matches have become a major concern for international cricket stars. This crisis is shedding light on the nation’s noxious air and prompting discussions about India’s bid to host the Olympic Games in 2036. According to monitoring firm IQAir, cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata currently rank among the top 10 cities in the world for air pollution.

In recent weeks, cricketers participating in the World Cup have had to endure “unhealthy” to “very unhealthy” air quality levels, affecting their health and training sessions. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka even canceled a training session in New Delhi due to the advice of medical professionals. Some players with asthma had to stay at their hotels. Despite the dire air quality, the matches proceeded, highlighting the severe conditions in which these athletes are competing.

India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is actively seeking to bring the Olympic Games to India in 2036, with hopes that it will enhance the nation’s reputation, much like the Beijing Games did for China in 2008. However, the ongoing air quality crisis poses a significant challenge and raises questions about the country’s ability to host such a prestigious global event.

One of the most noteworthy developments is the involvement of influential figures like Rohit Sharma, India’s cricket captain. Sharma expressed his astonishment at the pollution levels in his hometown of Mumbai, calling it “far from ideal.” He also expressed broader concerns for the health of India’s children, drawing attention to the critical issue.

Karthik Ganesan, a director at the New Delhi-based Council on Energy, Environment, and Water Research Institute, stated that the intervention by figures like Sharma could help shift Indian perceptions regarding the country’s perilous air quality and its implications for public health.

International players are also feeling the effects of the smog. England’s Ben Stokes was seen using an inhaler during a training session in Bengaluru, and his teammate Joe Root described playing in Mumbai as akin to “breathing air.” The global and local governing bodies, the International Cricket Council and the Board of Control for Cricket in India, have not yet responded to concerns raised by the players and the public.

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The deteriorating air quality has forced India’s cricket board to ban traditional firework displays in two cities following World Cup matches. This issue adds to the series of challenges and controversies faced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, including poor planning at the start of the World Cup, ticketing chaos, and last-minute schedule changes.

India’s track record in hosting large-scale sporting events has been inconsistent, with the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi marred by corruption scandals and poorly constructed facilities. The country’s vibrant democracy also presents unique challenges when it comes to addressing multifaceted issues like pollution, making it necessary to address these concerns before India can secure its bid to host the Olympics in 2036.

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