When Air Quality Meets Cricket

“..the first time in international cricketing history that players were seen wearing face masks on the field and the play was held up due to pollution concerns.”

During the cricket match between India and Sri Lanka, players entered the field with face masks, and at one point, the game was interrupted. This was the first time in the history of cricket that a match had been disrupted due to air pollution (#facepalm).


Source: http://bit.ly/2ASZuPm

Media coverage on the issue: 

Sri Lankan players struggle due to Delhi pollution; wear face masks at Feroz Shah Kotla 

Pollution stops play at Delhi Test match as bowlers struggle to breathe 


This wasn’t the first sporting event that was in news for air pollution! Earlier in November, there was lot of debate and discussion regarding the 2017 Delhi Half-Marathon, and ultimately, the event was held.

“My eyes are burning, my throat is dry. I have a running nose.” – Rohit Mohan, a participant in the Delhi Half-Marathon who ran with a mask

Read more about the Delhi Half-Marathon

The Runners Racing Through Delhi’s Smog 

What is the big deal in playing/running/jogging/biking under poor air quality? 

Breathing rate is higher during physical activity which can lead to an increase in the amount of air pollutants inhaled by an individual. In addition, some individuals will breathe through the mouth, and bypass the filtration through the nose.

In fact, a global study reported that only 1% of cities in world have such high levels of pollution that the activities could prove detrimental to health. And guess what? In Delhi, the tipping (the length of time after which there was no further health benefit) and break-even (when the harm from air pollution began to outweigh the health benefit) points for cycling were 30 and 45 minutes per day respectively, while for walking they were 90 minutes and six hours and 15 minutes respectively.

A story from NPR last year focused on the dilemma faced by a triathlete in running under high air pollution.  [Listen to the NPR story ]

What should you do if air quality is poor? 

  • Move physical activities indoors
  • Engage in less intense forms of exercise (e.g., walking instead of jogging)
  • Shorten the amount of time you are active


Air Quality and Physical Activity: What You Need To Know 


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