Can South Africa Green The World Cup?

Can South Africa Green The World Cup?

Durban : South Africa | Mar 16, 2010 at 9:36 AM PDT
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Mango Airlines landing in Durban

Despite the coveted flashes of gold, silver and bronze, many people were concerned with another color at the recent 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver- green.

Although the Vancouver Olympic Commitee pledged to offset 118,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, is was discovered that this figure amounted to less than half of Games-related emissions (

Still, the attempted 'greening' of the Olympics provided some much needed exposure for the responsibility of hosting such international events in a way that reduces their environmental impact and carbon emissions.

The Telegraph recently reported that "South Africa is trying to 'green' the World Cup, but local efforts are struggling to balance out the enormous carbon emissions caused by holding the tournament at the tip of the continent."

Nevertheless, several of the nine South African cities that will host World Cup matches have already constructed stadiums that feature natural ventilation, rain water capture, and increased energy efficiency; just some of the high environmental standards that organizers are hoping to uphold.

The “carbon footprint” for this year’s tournament is estimated at 2.75 million tons of carbon dioxide, nine times higher than the World Cup in Germany in 2006 and more than twice as high as the Beijing Olympics, reports The Telegraph. Emission levels are high because fans will have to fly between the host cities and because the nation uses coal for most of its electricity.

Local triumphs might be the silver lining for the World Cup, since many environmentalists say that the South African governments request for carbon offset project proposals in November came too late (Environmental Leader).

The city of Durban, for instance, has a plan to compensate for local carbon emissions by producing electricity from hydraulic turbines or biogas emitted by landfills.

Durban, Johannesburg, and Cape Town, are also planting thousands of trees to capture carbon dioxide. However, Nicci Diederichs, head of the city’s green programs, told The Telegraph these carbon credit projects will take about two and a half years to offset the emissions caused by hosting the tournament.

Nike contributed to the greening of the World Cup in its own special way as well, creating official team jerseys from plastic bottles found in landfills. "Players from Brazil, Portugal, and the Netherlands will be wearing the once-was-waste shirts, and millions of fans are expected to follow suit," reports

By using the recycled polyester, Nike prevented nearly 13 million plastic bottles, totaling nearly 254,000 kg of polyester waste, from going into landfill sites, according to a press release.

Releated Reading:

Efforts To Green Winter Olympics Fall Short Of Gold

Nike Strategizes On Deep Green Future

Source: Care2

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Should greening international sporting events be a priority?
Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons - Shine2010
Beth Buczynski is based in Fort Collins, Colorado, United States of America, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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