Thursday, August 7, 2008


     Beijing, Aug. 7, 2008 (ANTARA) -  As seven million spectators count down to the opening of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, solar energy, wind farms and recycled water are among the green features that will help power their Olympic experience.
    The most comprehensive pre-Games environmental assessment of the Beijing 2008 Olympics, compiled by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), measures Beijing's achievements and challenges on the road to greening the Olympics, according to a UNEP press statement.

     `Beijing 2008 Olympic Games - An Environmental Review', prepared late last year by UNEP, takes a comprehensive look at the green features of the Olympic venues, from the extensive use of renewable energy to pioneering systems for water conservation and eco-friendly lighting.
    UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said: "Anybody who knows what the situation was like ten years ago in Beijing will clearly acknowledge that an enormous amount has been done. The legacy of this Olympic Games will be in part that it has left in place an infrastructure for public transport and cleaner vehicles that will benefit not only the Olympic Games but also the population of Beijing and hopefully in due course other parts of China. So in that sense, air pollution was an incentive to do something that was long overdue in China's own interest."
     The report emphasizes that UNEP believes the variety of clean energy and energy saving solutions employed by venue designers in Beijing provides a positive showcase and an inspiration for future Games organizers.
     Green features of the Olympic venues:
     - Solar power is being used to light lawns, courtyards and streets at several venues including the Olympic Village. The National Stadium, where events such as athletics and football will be held, is being lit by a 130 KW photovoltaic system.
     - At the 400,000 square metre Olympic Village, reclaimed water from the Qinghe sewage treatment plant is being used for heating and cooling systems - around 60 per cent in electrical savings is anticipated.
    -  Translucent membranes in the ceilings and walls of the National Aquatics Centre or 'Water Cube' allow in natural light, and specially designed  'beam-pipes' funnel sunlight into corridors, toilets and car parks at venues including the Olympic Green.
     - In the Olympic Media Village, at least 3,000 cubic metres of rainwater can be captured using water permeable bricks, pipes and wells installed on roofs, roads and green areas.
     - The organizers have set a target of achieving a 50 per cent recycling of waste including paper, metals and plastics at venues. A test run, carried out during the 11th World Softball Championships held last year, achieved a nearly 90 per cent recycling.
    - As part of UNEP's continuing support for the greening of the Games, Steiner will attend the Olympic Opening Ceremony on 8 August and visit several of the green Olympic venues.
    In the second half of 2008, UNEP will also publish a Post-Games
Environmental Report in order to assess the impact of hosting the
Olympics, with a review of air quality, transportation, energy, water,
waste and other areas.
    UNEP's sport and environment programme dates back to 1994 when UNEP signed a cooperative agreement with the International Olympic Committee.
    UNEP and the Beijing Olympic Committee signed an agreement in November 2005 aimed at making the 2008 Olympic Games environmentally-friendly. As part of this, UNEP published `Beijing 2008 Olympic Games - An Environmental Review', an independent review of Beijing's environmental commitments and actions in October 2007, and will follow up with a Post-Games Environmental Report.

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