UN environment agency hails plans for ‘green’ 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today hailed strides being made to “green” the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games through the use of solar power and other measures but cautioned that more should be done to address air pollution, offset greenhouse gas emissions and boost public transport use.
“The initial score card on the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics 2008 is positive in terms of the greening of the Games,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
China’s initiative to host the Games is serving to accelerate environmental improvements across the city, as Beijing strives to balance rapid economic growth with health and environmental protection, the agency said.
Environmental measures are being introduced covering waste management, cleaner transport systems and water treatment, as well as new urban green belts including a 580-hectare Olympic Forest Park, according to a UNEP report.
The agency commends China for accelerating the phase-out of ozone depleting chemicals and for providing energy efficiency and green energy appliances at buildings and sports venues.
Solar power is also being extensively deployed at sports venues and at the Olympic village and the organizers have well-developed plans to re-use and recycle venues after the Games close, UNEP said.
But while the report acknowledges the significant investment and achievements of the organizers of the 2008 Olympic Games, it also highlights some remaining concerns, including air quality and pollution as well as under-utilization of the city’s expanding public transport network.
“The more than $12 billion spent by the Municipal Government and Government of China appears to have been well spent – and will be even more well spent if the lessons learned and measures adopted are picked up by municipalities across the country so as to leave a real and lasting nationwide legacy,” said Mr. Steiner added.