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Masked cricketers

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  7 Dec 2017 12:00 AM GMT

While drawing the Feroze Shah Kotla Test (and thereby losing the series) — the Sri Lankan cricketers made heavy weather of the match from Day 1, and not for cricketing reasons alone. Many of them took the field wearing masks, complaining about the highly polluted Delhi air. Pace spearhead Suranga Lakmal vomited on the greens itself, and had to be escorted off the field. The Lankan coach spoke about his players using oxygen cylinders in the changing room, that “it’s not normal” for them to suffer so while playing the game. Team India members seemed at ease, with pacer Mohammad Shami wondering aloud that “maybe we are habituated to it (pollution)”. BCCI was not amused at several stoppages during the course of the match, though it later hinted that intertiol fixtures may not be scheduled for Delhi during the smoggy winter months. But the controversy did Delhi’s reputation no good; toxic smog has been visiting the tiol capital region (NCR) during the winter for years, with the cold ground and lower air layers trapping pollutants. Delhi on average adds 1,400 new vehicles to its roads every day; the total number of vehicles in the tiol capital surpassed the 1 crore mark last year. The Centre and Delhi’s AAP government have been blaming each other over the ruway pollution, though some concrete steps are reportedly being mulled. These include opening western and eastern expressways for heavy commercial vehicles to bypass Delhi altogether; banning the use of pet coke and furce oil by industries in NCT, in line with a suggestion put forth by Supreme Court; and giving a push to electric buses and taxis, as well as bio-ethanol and methanol to be produced from agri-residues like paddy straw and sugarcane husk (which could help elimite farm stubble burning in Punjab and Harya, a major contributor to Delhi’s smog). All these could create opportunities for the emerging green energy sector; the country, after all, has been losing heavily due to pollution in terms of lives, labour output and welfare.

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