The organizers of the Winter Olympics that kicked off this weekend in Vancouver are hoping to stage some of the greenest Games ever, thanks to a partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
For the past three years the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) and UNEP have worked together to improve the environmental footprint of these Games and to use the high-profile sports gathering to increase public awareness about green issues.
Low-flow toilets that use rainwater for flushing, separate bins for compostable waste and energy-efficient grass-clad roofs are some of the environmentally-friendly features on display at Olympic sites in and around Vancouver.
VANOC has also tried to reduce the carbon impact of the Games by expanding the public transport system and introducing various forms of clean technology, according to a press release issued by UNEP yesterday.
The agency said it will publish an environmental assessment report later this year that will examine the greening of the venues, sustainable transport and waste management.
Today UNEP and VANOC will also announce the winner of a video contest in which Canadian youth were invited to produce a short video or animation clip to show how young people can help create a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle during and after the Games.
Wilfried Lemke, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, will attend today''s award ceremony.
UNEP is also working with the organizers of the next Winter Olympics, to be staged in Sochi, Russia, in 2014, as part of its campaign to help lower the carbon footprint of major sporting events.
In addition, the UN agency is partnering with the organizers of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa later this year, the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October and the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket competition.