SOCHI…setting the standards high for environmental impact

Sochi has a chance at creating one of the most sustainable Olympic Events in history and I think it is achievable.  If Sochi is able to achieve the amazing feat of creating sustainable Olympic and Paralympic games it may just show the rest of the world that sustainability is possible, especially because these games draw huge crowds of people from all over the world.  The six main areas that Sochi has decided to focus their efforts of sustainability are: Healthy Living, Barrier-free World, Modern technologies, In Harmony with nature, Economic prosperity and Culture and national values.  The area that concerns me most is Harmony with Nature because the Olympic games can cause a strain on many environmental factors, like affecting migration patterns of local wildlife, wasteful water usage by participants and spectators and disruption of local vegetation with heavy traffic from the brief but substantial rise in population.  In a effort to reduce these factors the Sochi committee is working with partners, such as, Coca Cola, Dow and Panasonic to take a proactive approach on environmental issues for the future 2014 games.  The following statement reflects one of the missions of Sochi 2014:

“Mission of the Winter Games of 2014 is to introduce in Sochi a new vision of sustainable development in harmony with nature that will not only spare Sochi environment of harmful impact but also will be instrumental in resolving ecological challenges that have accumulated over many years.”

This statement shows that Sochi is taking the opportunity to not only achieve an amazing ideal, but to rectify some of the pre-existing problems they have found.  The Sochi committee has come up with many great ideas to reduce impact on environment and plans for the time period after the games are over to restore conditions.  This is a statement about the post-games period from the Sochi committee:

“following transformation of Olympic venues disturbed natural properties and complexes shall be rehabilitated, temporary structures dismantled, grass cover restored; technological systems at sports venues and engineering systems shall be adjusted to uninterrupted and efficient performance; all materials and equipments that are not to be used further shall be removed from the Games delivery territory Sochi 2014 development is being exercised simultaneously with the development of Sochi natural protected areas.”

The four key elements that the Sochi committee is addressing, so that the games are in harmony with nature are: zero waste, games with minimal impact on climate, games in harmony with nature and enlightened games.  The zero waste goal is going to be implemented with an infrastructure strategy that targets the waste management currently in place and in place of a rubbish incinerating plant Russia is piloting a new waste-sorting plant.  The committee has also addressed issues that affect pollution of the sea due by building a bypass road with systems designed to collect and clean surface debris.  The zero waste infrastructure is thorough and it is amazing to see a Russia take this opportunity to make changes for a more sustainable future, so the impact is not just temporary for the purpose of the 2014 games.  Under the key element of games with minimal impact on the climate, the Sochi committee has designed action plans to reduce the numbers of air pollution sources as well as the air pollutants emitted and a program to neutralize the balance of carbon dioxide emissions.  The enlightened games element addresses dissemination of knowledge about environmental awareness and responsible behavior.  The following youtube video is from Dow, which is one of the partners working with Sochi to create this sustainable dream:




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