It is expected that the winter Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014 will be clean and «green». Its organizers have committed themselves to the proper disposal of waste, economic usage of water and electricity, the observance of cleanliness and careful attitude to the environment in general.
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding. It is aimed at protecting the environment during the preparations for the Olympics and its implementation with the Russian National Committee for the Olympic Games.
Under this Memorandum, UNEP will provide technical support for Russia in its efforts to organize «environmentally friendly» Olympics.
At the signing ceremony the representative of UNEP Teodore Aubin stated that he hoped that the new arrangements would be a sort of guarantee that during preparation and holding of competitions measures will be taken to protect nature in Sochi and the whole Krasnodar region as well.
Organizers of the Olympic Games in Sochi plan to invest 1.75 billion dollars in projects on energy saving and renewable energy. So they want to offset the greenhouse gas emissions from energy use, air travel and other modes of transport. Other environmental initiatives include the development of «green belt» around town and reforestation in the Sochi National Park.
UNEP recalled that in 2008 Russia on the advice of international experts decided to postpone a number of Olympic facilities. In particular, it was decided to find alternative places for the sledge, bobsled track, Olympic Village and the water intake, which were previously planned to be built on the outskirts of the fragile natural Caucasus Reserve.
Then, in 2008, Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin proposed to build «disputed objects» in other places at the meeting on the problems of compliance with environmental requirements in preparation for the Olympic Games in 2014, saying that if their construction violated the environmental system, it could not be restored. «In determining priorities – money or ecology – we choose ecology. If the balance of nature is broken, it can lead to a situation that would be impossible to correct for any money », – said Vladimir Putin.
The head of the UN Environment Program Achim Steiner welcomed the Russian Government’s commitment to environmental sustainability in preparation for the Olympic Games in Sochi. He called the decision of Russia an important step towards the «green» Olympics-2014.
Theodore Aubin stressed that the obligations, enshrined in the new memorandum, would not remain only on paper, because the organizing committee «Sochi-2014» joined UNEP «plant billion trees» project on the day of the signing.