The upcoming 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy lack sufficient
environmental safeguards to prevent damage to the Southern Alps, according to
the international ecological monitoring group Guard Fox Watch (GFW).
Dramatic increases in air and water pollution, disruption of wildlife,
overflowing garbage and sewage facilities, and greater "greenhouse"
energy wastes are some of the negative outcomes that can be expected in Turin
and nearby sports venues. The effects could extend from the Po River headwaters
region as far as the Adriatic Sea.
GFW investigated the Turin site in February 2003 and recommends extensive
measures to avoid the shockingly poor record of previous Winter Games it
witnessed at Nagano, Japan and Salt Lake City, Utah.
For better results at the 2006 Games in Turin, innovations are needed such as a
Zero Waste Policy for recycling all consumer, construction and commercial
wastes. There should be exclusive use of electric powered public transportation
to and from venues. Highway and parking lot runoff needs to be filtered to
prevent water pollution. In the crucial area of water supply for Olympic-goers,
GFW urges water catchment systems to collect rain and snow melt, strict water
conservation through the use of low-flow attachments for showers, sinks, and
toilets, and re-use of "grey" water for non-potable purposes such as
President Valentino Costellani of the Turin Organizing Committee for the Olympic
Games (TOROC) stated, "The primary purpose ... is the realization of works
and infrastructures for the Games that will
respect, and potentially even improve, the environment of the area." But
the vague guidelines proposed by TOROC aren't capable of providing the model of
sustainability for future events that the organizers optimistically claim.
Unfortunately, athletes and spectators at the next Winter Olympics won't have
the opportunity to enjoy the ecological benefits GFW proposes because they
aren't going to be available. TOROC's recently released Environmental Report
includes none of GFW's suggestions. Instead, it proposes similar methods for
monitoring environmental conditions and establishing controls that were proven
previous Winter Games. TOROC has not monitored enough environmental factors
during the winter of 2004 to effectively detect and correct problems. It has
failed to endorse a Zero Waste Policy that will handle increases in garbage and
sewage. TOROC also seriously underestimates the crowd size at events that are
highly popular in neighboring European countries, claiming that attendance will
not exceed the usual number of recreation seekers at that time of year.
A comparison of TOROC policies in major areas and GFW recommendations follows:
COMPARISON OF ENVIRONMENTAL RECOMMENDATIONS FOR 2006 WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES IN
TOROC AND GUARD FOX WATCH
Safeguard drinking water and minimize impact on environment by monitoring
in stages. The Water Plan guarantees to respect the objective of protecting
the entire water system, in particular, ensuring Minimal Vital Flow in these
sections of rivers where water is extracted for artificial snow making
Develop Watershed Planning Units for bioregion.
Develop rooftop and open area catchment systems to collect snow and rain
water at all athlete facilities, sports venues, hotels, restaurants and other
Water conservation including low-flow toilets, showers and sinks at all
sports facilities venues and hotels, restaurants, and other services.
Installation of water reuse systems including dual plumbing for pure and
water reuse at all athlete facilities, sports venues and hotels, restaurants
and other services.
2. TERRITORY AND LANDSCAPE (INERT MATERIALS PLAN)
Guarantee an overall positive environmental balance. Evaluate the
excavations of inert materials (earth and rock) to favor maximum re-use.
Consider all options for recovering inert materials at building sites,
separating earth and rock and complete environmental rehabilitation of
affected areas. Ensure proper integration of construction projects, assess
landscape from field research and reduce impact of planned construction.
Thorough environmental monitoring
bioregion during winter periods in 2004 - 2007 to establish baselines and
measure changes in:
- Native plant and animal populations for a wide and representative spectrum
- Air quality.
- Water availability, use and pollution.
- Garbage loads.
- Sewage loads.
- Natural habitat area.
- Ecosystem condition.
- Energy production and use.
- Soil removal and disruption.
3. ROADS AND TRANSPORTS (SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT PLAN)
Manage and limit mobility problems caused by construction projects of
Olympic Games and other major projects in Turin. Regulate and limit mobility
problems on roads, road safety, railways, construction and projects in urban
areas. Regulate and limit mobility problems caused by major new attractions
and limit accessibility during Olympic Games. The main objective is to ensure
that the local population suffers a minimum level of discomfort and satisfy
the needs of the Olympic Family.
Only public conveyances using renewable energy for all transportation of
athletes and spectators to sports venues.
Snow removal by non-chemical means.
Channel road and parking area water runoff through monitoring and
No new roads, railways, or airport expansion.
TOROC has a strategic plan that needs to be coordinated with other public
entities. First with Turin to reduce the amount of garbage and expand
recycling. Italian law has imposed garbage reduction through recycling to be
realized on a national level in the near and far future.
Zero Waste Policy at all Olympic athlete facilities, sports venues, and
spectator services to recycle all waste and refuse.
Direct the purchase of goods and services towards improved environmental
performance and minimized consumption of resources. Guidelines based on the
most preferable environmental characteristics. Use criteria including
Eco-labels or certified management systems defined by recent European and
international standards. Favor suppliers and products that comply with the
largest number of identified criteria. Make full use of potential tourist
population to reduce energy consumption and environmental impact. Apply, in
new construction, the best practices starting at the design stages, using
bio-climatic techniques which also have potential for high return on
investment. Encourage wider use of environmental management tools such as
European Eco-labels for tourist accommodation services. Construction of new
power lines isnít foreseen as the existent network is able to sustain the
necessary load. Italian law has already forecasted specific grants in favor of
alternative energy development in the private sector. The road network
capacity will limit the tourist load to an already determined attendance
Renewable sources of heat, transportation and electric energy at all athlete
facilities, sports venues, and spectator services.
Comprehensive plan for energy reduction throughout bioregion.
6. OLYMPIC AND MEDIA VILLAGES
TOROC has developed specific guidelines for design to ensure compliance
with fundamental requirements that aim to specify energy efficiency of
building design, construction and operation, characterized by extensive use of
bio-architectural techniques and solutions for rational energy use.
Sustainability Guidelines for Construction and Operation
- Recycled and locally available materials.
- Built-in snow and rain water catchment systems.
- Built-in heating and cooling structural features.
- Renewable energy powered electricity generating facilities.
- Electricity conservation features.
- Water re-use systems.
- Waste recycling systems.
- Biological human sewage treatment.
7. CABLES AND LIFTS
The mountain areas of the Olympic Games have a wide ski lift network.
Construction is essentially toward modernization of few existent ski-lifts and
a limited system enlargement. Parking lots are of two kinds, already existing
and temporary parking that will be removed at the end of the Games.
Total natural environment inventories around existing and newly constructed
Strict environmental guidelines for lifts: minimum space and no paving, noise
and night-lighting reduced to minimum.
Transportation to and from lifts restricted to public conveyances.
New lift facilities removed after Games.
Complete plant and animal restoration after Games using only native plants
NEWS RELEASE CONTACT:
Rete Bioregionale Italiana
March 1, 2004 PO Box
Strada Digagnola 24
San Francisco CA
46020 Portiolo (MN)