New Delhi: Just a day before the FIFA U-17 World Cup kicks off in Delhi, where the hosts will play all of their group stage games, environment NGO Greenpeace issued a statement saying that the level of coarse particulate air pollutants PM10 “far exceeded” the safe levels in the host cities of the tournament last October.

The Greenpeace report came on Thursday, when the national capital recorded ‘poor’ air quality for the second consecutive day. The NGO claimed high level of PM10 may “reduce” the quality of football played during the tournament.

According to the report, in October 2016, the average levels of PM10 – coarse particulates measuring less than 10 microns in diameter – were 304 and 100 microgrammes per cubic metre (ug/m3) in Delhi and Mumbai.

The 24-hour average prescribed standard of PM10 is 100 and the annual prescribed average is 60.

Delhi will co-host the tournament with Mumbai, Kochi, Margao (Goa), Guwahati and Kolkata.

“PM10 level on October 6 last year in Delhi was 234µg/m3, and 320µg/m3 on October 16 (when Delhi hosts the last tournament match this year).

“These values are over 4 times and 6 times above the World Health Organisation’s limits of 50µg/m3 over a 24-hour period, and over 2 and 3 times above India’s PM10 standards of 100µg/m3 (over a 24 hour period),” a Greenpeace India statement said.

Greenpeace executive Sunil Dahiya alleged such levels of air pollution could also cut down the quality of football played at the tournament.

“According to a study by the German League, football matches that take place during periods of heavy air pollution are played more slowly. The study also found that health impacts are strongest when PM10 concentration is above 50µg/m3 and when players have fewer than five rest days between matches,” he said.

Recently, the Supreme Court-monitored Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority directed concerned agencies to take suitable measures to prevent pollution after expressing concern over a possible spike in pollution levels during the world cup. (With PTI inputs)