2012 London Olympic Games meet sustainability targets
London Olympics clears sustainability hurdles
Submitted by: Vince Collins
The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games has met the vast majority of its sustainability targets, says the United Nations official in charge of helping Olympic Games host cities produce events that protect the environment and make smart use of their resources.
Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, 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."
LOCOG is committed to the use of public transport, with a target of one million extra walking and cycling journeys in London during the Games.
Some of the measures LOCOG has taken to make the London Olympics sustainable include the creation of the Olympic Park on once-contaminated industrial land in east London's Lea Valley, the recycling of over 98 percent of waste during construction and the commitment to do the same in the demolition phase.
Steiner listed LOCOG's accomplishments on a walk through Olympic Park.
"London's clean-up of an old industrial site; 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.
This is the first time that a host city has committed to measure its carbon footprint over the entire term of the Olympic Games from construction to the finish line.
UK Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs Caroline Spelman said, "We are committed to building a future for everyone where the natural environment is not just protected, but valued as a national asset."
"We are delighted to have set new standards in sustainable development, and to showcase the expertise and ingenuity of British companies in delivering a green Olympics so warmly welcomed by Mr. Steiner," she said.
Facts and Figures on Sustainability at the London Olympics:
In reclaiming the industrial area for Olympic Park, 98 percent of material from the demolition work was reused or recycled - exceeding a target of 90 percent.
Two million tonnes of soil were cleansed of pollutants and more than 80 percent of soil was reused on site in the UK's largest ever clean-up of contaminated land
Temporary structures that can be dismantled and re-used after the Games are in place throughout the site, in particular, the Basketball arena, one of the biggest temporary venues ever built for an Olympic Games.
4,000 color-coded recycling bins and composting bins are placed through venues and Olympic Park, in an effort to achieve 70 percent re-use, recycling or composting during the Games.
The unique design of the Olympic Stadium enabled it to be created with just 10,000 tonnes of steel - the lightest ever.
The Velodrome was built with 100 percent sustainably sourced timber, and features unique meshing that holds roof in place with a third less steel.
The 88 'light pipes' in the Copper Box let natural light into the venue, achieving annual energy savings of up to 40 percent.
The rainwater harvesting system in the Copper Box and a filter backwash at the Aquatics Centre are reducing water consumption by 40 percent
At least 64 percent of all construction materials were transported to the Olympic site by rail or water, reducing the project's carbon footprint.
Ecological aims have been incorporated into the design of venues such as the Main Press Centre, which has a 'brown roof,' that uses seeds and logs reclaimed from the Olympic Park construction site to create new wildlife habitats
London 2012 is the first genuine public transport Games and includes an Active Travel Programme to get tens of thousands of people cycling and walking to venues
Centralized procurement, early supply chain integration and extensive trials and testing of various sustainable concrete mixes were key to reducing the overall environmental impact of concrete on the site.
LOCOG is providing 14 million sustainably sourced meals during the Games, showcasing the best of British food. The meals are Red Tractor Farm Assured to production standards developed by experts on safety, hygiene, animal welfare and the environment; the fish is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council and the produce is certified Fairtrade.
Carving out a new ecology of wildlife, plants and woodlands, 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.
The park has been designed to mitigate the effects of climate change and increased rainfall by acting as a sponge to help manage water flow to the Thames River.
More than 4,000 trees, 300,000 wetland plants and over eight kilometres of waterway for local residents and visitors to enjoy. There are more than 650 bird and bat boxes installed across the Olympic Park.
Volunteers of all ages donated over thousands of hours of their time to clean up the Thames River and London's other waterways. They removed over 950 black sacks of litter and large expanses of the damaging invasive weed Himalayan Balsam.
Volunteers planted 12 wildflower meadows and 80 trees along river and canal banks in an effort to ensure the spaces that surround and intersect the Olympic Host Boroughs are clean, accessible and ecologically improved.
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." This story appeared originally on the Environment News Service website.