Delhi's pollution is a health emergency. Suspend polo and save our horses.
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For the last couple of years, pollution levels in New Delhi have reached hazardous levels with PM 2.5 crossing 1000 (500 is considered 'Hazardous'), creating a Health Emergency in the national capital. Schools are often shut and people are told not to venture outdoors unnecessarily, not to exercise in the open and to wear protective masks.
In such a situation it seems highly irresponsible for the Delhi Fall Polo Season to continue with minimal changes to the schedule, posing a grave threat to the health of both, horses and players. Horses travel great distances on a daily basis in open trucks and through peak hour traffic and are then expected to play. Such rigorous exercise in this pollution poses a serious threat to their lives in a fast-paced sport such as polo which is already risky. There are no check-ups prior to a match or during one unless the horse is already indicating a serious problem, by which time it may be too late. Horses could suffer respiratory and heart problems such as Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Haemorrhage (EIPH), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) and heart attacks. The poor state of veterinary care for horses is already a matter of concern.
Despite pleas from certain players, the Indian Polo Association continues to allot this season to Delhi, even though it is well-known that Delhi's pollution peaks at this time.
We appeal to the Ministry of Defence, the Indian Polo Association and the Army Polo & Riding Club to stop unnecessarily risking the lives of horses, players, grooms, groundsmen, officials and spectators, by altering the polo calendar so that polo is not played in Delhi or neighbouring areas such as Haryana and NOIDA, under such great risk to all involved.
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