NEW DELHI: As the city recorded a sharp dip in air quality, the Indian Medical Association today said Delhi was witnessing a "public health emergency" and appealed to the Delhi government to stop outdoor sports and other such activities in schools to protect the health of children.
In a letter to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, IMA National President Dr KK Aggarwal and the Secretary General Dr RN Tandon, said children are "especially at risk" in air quality ranging from 'poor' to 'severe'.
The IMA mentioned in the letter that when Air Quality Index (AQI) levels cross 200, it is "generally advised" that time spent outdoors be restricted.
"Hence all outdoor sports, marathons and other outdoor activities in schools should be stopped.
"Children are more prone to harmful effects of air pollution as their lungs are still growing," the letter said.
The IMA stated that children, who play or exercise outdoors need more oxygen, so they take in more polluted air into their lungs, which hampers the growth of their lungs leading to breathing problems later on in life.
"We appeal to you to stop all outdoor activities and sports in schools due to the very poor air quality keeping in view the harmful impact of air pollution on health of children and immediately issue an advisory in this regard for all schools in Delhi-NCR, which should be disseminated through different media such as radio, print including social media.
The association has also urged organisers of the Delhi half marathon and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal seeking cancellation of Airtel Delhi Half Marathon because of the increased pollution levels in the air.
The event is scheduled to be held on November 19.