Unhealthy air quality affects some Valley sporting events

The Air Pollution Control District said the poor air quality is from a combination of traffic emissions and people burning.
January 4, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Unhealthy air is taking a toll on many Central Valley residents and putting some sporting events on hold.

Clovis West was hosting a club swim meet Saturday when it t was cut short by bad air quality. Friday the air quality cancelled a high school soccer game. And according to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District Sunday is expected to be another unhealthy air quality day.

Clovis West Athletic Director Matt Loggins said the morning started off with more than 300 swimmers at the pool.

"The meet started at 8 a.m. and it ran from about 8:30 to about 12:30 p.m. is when they got the bad air readings and at that point they decided it was time to shut it down," Loggins said.

When it comes to cancelling an outdoor event Clovis West takes its cues from air quality readings. Clovis Unified's air quality levels are color coded, purple being the worst.

"The readings are taken every hour, in the second reading, if it's still in the purple, we're going to shut it down," Loggins said.

Loggins says the air quality has affected soccer and swim events. Indoor winter sports like basketball and wrestling have not been affected at all.

A spokeswoman for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District said the pollutants are from cars and fire places. The pollutants are settling in the Valley because it's been weeks since the area has seen the right rain, wind or pressure combinations to clear up the haze.

Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern Counties continued to see unhealthy air quality for everyone Saturday. Doctors are advising to stay indoors if possible.

"It's very important they take it seriously, because it could lead to serious respiratory conditions and asthma flair up and difficulty breathing," Dr. Praveen Buddiga from Baz Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center said.

That's why schools take no chances and cancel outdoor sporting events as protocol dictates.

"It's kind of like in the spring sports when there's a rain out," Loggins said. "What I saw was adults doing the right thing for kids, following the guidelines, and their health and safety is ultimately what's most important."

The club swim meet is scheduled to resume Sunday at 7 a.m. Poor air quality is projected for Sunday so athletic officials will be monitoring the health readings again.


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