Wednesday, August 1, 2012

London Strives for Gold in Environmental Planning for the Olympics

The United Nations Environmental Program dates the first environmentally conscientious Olympic Games to the 1994 Games in Lillehammer, Norway. The 2012 Summer Olympics in London is hoping to push the effort even further. This is the first host city to measure its carbon footprint from construction through the end of the Games.

David Stubbs, the head of sustainability for the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games proudly discussed the development of the first global standard for sustainable event management, named ISO 20121. Additionally, the implementation of he Food Vision Program is the first to challenge the catering sector to look at sustainable sources including fair trade, M.S.C.-certified (Marine Stewardship Council-certified) fish and Farm Assured Red Tractor (a program which assures safety of food production).

The 2012 Olympic Games have transformed a large part of East London, the  Lea Valley site, which had been an industrial waste ground for centuries. The transformation included cleaning lead, arsenic and tar out of the soil. In addition to beating their 90% recycling goal by 8%, volunteers also helped restore the natural habitat and water flows along the River Lea.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said, "It's fantastic that so many volunteers have pulled together to help make our rivers and canals sparkle for London's summer like no other. The eyes of the world will be on the capital during the Games and thanks to this hard work, millions of people will be able to see our wonderful waterways at their best."

The 250 acres of parkland is the biggest urban park to be built in Europe for 150 years with 45 hectares of new wildlife habitat. Organizers created temporary structures that can be recycled after the games in addition to permanent structures that are to be incorporated into the park. The area is to be named The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and will be open to the public after the games.

Angelica Oman
Graduate Program Assistant

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