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News

Rohit Sharma expresses concern about air pollution in India

BCCI says there won't be any fireworks for remaining World Cup games in Mumbai and Delhi

A view of the air pollution in Mumbai on October 21, 2023  •  LightRocket via Getty Images

A view of the air pollution in Mumbai on October 21, 2023  •  LightRocket via Getty Images

India captain Rohit Sharma has expressed concern over the worsening air quality in Mumbai, and elsewhere in the country, saying it is important to ensure that future generations can live "without any fear" in India.
"In an ideal world, you do not want a situation like this but I am pretty sure that the concerned people are taking the necessary steps to avoid this kind of situation," Rohit said on the eve of India's World Cup match against Sri Lanka in Mumbai. "It is not ideal and everyone knows that.
"Looking at our future generations, your kids, my kid. Obviously it is important that they get to live without any fear. Every time I get to speak outside of cricket, or not discussing cricket, I always talk about this. We have to look after our future generations."
The issue of air quality had been raised earlier during the World Cup by Joe Root following England's defeat to South Africa in Mumbai.
"|I've not played in anything like that before," Root had said. "I've obviously played in hotter conditions, and probably more humid conditions. But it just felt like you couldn't get your breath. It was like you were eating the air. It was unique.
"I mean you couldn't get away from it. You walk out onto the field and your shirt's soaking wet, and you have a lot heavier breath than you would do, and you know you've done your fitness and stuff, it's not like you're short on that. So you are very aware of it … It was tough, but that's the sort of stuff that you come up against and contend with when you come out to play in India at this time of year."
With air quality worsening especially in Delhi and Mumbai, the BCCI said it will stop the setting off of fireworks for the remaining World Cup games in the two cities.
"BCCI is sensitive to environmental concerns. I took up the matter formally with the ICC and there won't be any fireworks display in Mumbai, which can add to the pollution level." BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement. "The board is committed to combating environmental issues and will always place the interest of our fans and stakeholders at the forefront."
"The BCCI acknowledges the urgent concern surrounding air quality in both Mumbai and New Delhi. While we strive to host the ICC 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."
On Tuesday, the Bombay High Court had expressed concern over the deteriorating air quality index in Mumbai while taking suo motu cognisance of the issue.
Mumbai has three more games to host in the World Cup: India vs Sri Lanka on November 2, Afghanistan vs Australia on November 7, and the first semi-final on November 15. Delhi has just the one game to go - Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh on November 6.