Pollution forces India to ban firework displays at Cricket World Cup
November 1, 2023 09:14 PM
India's cricket board on Wednesday said fireworks at Cricket World Cup matches in Mumbai and New Delhi will be banned due to hazardous pollution levels.
The hosts will take on Sri Lanka at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium on Thursday where a win will extend their unbeaten streak to seven and seal a semi-final spot.
But concerns about air quality dominated news in the commercial capital of India, forcing the Board of Control for Cricket in India to take action.
"BCCI is sensitive to environmental concerns. I took up the matter formally with the ICC (International Cricket Council) and there won't be any fireworks display in Mumbai, which can add to the pollution level," secretary Jay Shah said in a statement."
"The BCCI acknowledges the urgent concern surrounding air quality in both Mumbai and New Delhi. While we strive to host the World Cup in a manner befitting the celebration of cricket, we remain steadfast in our commitment to prioritising the health and safety of all our stakeholders."
According to India's National Air Quality Index, air in Mumbai was "poor", a ranking which it warns has the possible health impacts of "breathing discomfort to most people on prolonged exposure", when the team started training at 18.30 local time.
The concentration in Mumbai was four times above the recommended limit advised by the World Health Organisation.
"I mean, in an ideal world, you don't want a situation like this, but I'm pretty sure the concerned people are taking the necessary steps to avoid these kind of situations," India captain Rohit Sharma said Wednesday.
"It's not ideal, everyone knows that. But obviously, looking at our future generation, your kids, my kids, obviously, it's quite important that they get to live without any fear."
He added, "So, yeah, every time I get to speak outside of cricket, if we are not discussing cricket, I always talk about this, that you know we have to look after our future generation."
Mumbai is scheduled to hold another league game on November 7 between Afghanistan and Australia before they host the first semi-final on November 15.
Air in the Indian capital of New Delhi hovered between "poor" to "very poor" at different times of the day with the city awaiting its last World Cup match on Monday between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Pollution in Delhi once hit severe levels during a Test match in December, 2017 when nine of the 11 Sri Lankan players came out wearing masks after the tea break and Indian bowler Mohammed Shami vomited on the pitch.