Environmental Laboratory

United Nations praise London Olympics for meeting sustainability targets


The United Nations has praised the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games for creating a sustainable environment, saying it met all the targets set forward in the sustainability assessment guide developed by the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP).

Achim Steiner, executive director of the UNEP, said: "Every Olympic Games represents unique challenges and opportunities in terms of raising the bar of the third pillar of Olympism - namely the environment - and London is no exception."

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has been in close collaboration with the UNEP, which has looked to push environmental sustainability at the  Games in Athens in 2004, Torino 2006, Beijing in 2008 and Vancouver in 2010. Rio de Janeiro has also invited UNEP to assist in its preparations for the 2016 Summer Games.

Mr Steiner said LOCOG's accomplishments has been quite something. From the clean-up of an old industrial site to "the restoration of flows and habitat on the River Lea; the greening of supply chains; the low energy linked with the design and construction of the stadium, including utilizing old gas pipes for the facility's Olympic ring; and the use of temporary structures to reduce emissions are among the actions that can assist in inspiring the organizers of the Rio 2016 games and beyond," he said.

Indeed, the facts and figures really do talk for themselves. The chief goal of LOCOG was to achieve a legacy that would extend far beyond the Games, which is why sustainability has played such a  big part in their plans.

To list but a few, the Olympics has managed to clear any contaminated land in and around the site, cleaning two million tonnes of soil and reusing over 80 per cent of the soil they had. This is the UK's biggest ever clean-up of contaminated land.

All permanent structures have long-term plans, and environmentally-friendly initiatives, such a recycling waste and so on, have played a huge part in the run up to the event. If London wanted to create a legacy, it certainly seems as though they have achieved that.

Posted by Claire Manning 

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