Pointing out an increase in vehicular traffic, an NGO has warned that air pollution in the national capital could affect the performance of athletes during the upcoming Commonwealth Games as the stadia are on the main road.
This assessment was made by Centre for Science and Environment and was presented before experts from various government agencies by US-based Health Environment Institute in the form of a study 'Clean air before the Games: Are we living up to it?'
"It (pollution) can affect athletes as our centres for Commonwealth Games -- Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and National Stadium -- are near to the major roads," said Sunita Godhra, a marathon champion who was part of a panel of experts on behalf of the government.
The assessment claimed that Particulate Matter (PM) level is increasing. "The PM10 levels will have to be reduced at least four times to be able to meet the standard."
The study said, "the number of days with ozone levels exceeding the standards is high. Ozone is particularly harmful for athletes and outdoor activities, with immediate health impact even for short duration exposure."
Daniel Greenbaum and Robert O'Keefe, experts from the US-based organisation who presented the study to the local panel of experts also suggested to increase the number of clean air days -- days on which air quality standards are met.
Till April this year, PM2.5 levels and NO2 levels have exceeded standards on 92 per cent of the days monitored. Ozone levels were also high in summer, the study said.
"With every breath, athletes typically take in 10 to 20 times as much air and thus pollutants," CSE air pollution programme head Anumita Roychowdhury said.
The panelists said, "Delhi needs a combination of long lasting reforms as well as a contingent plan to clean up its air before the 2010 Commonwealth games."