Last week the world watched as the opening match of the FIFA 2010 World Cup between South Africa and Mexico marked the beginning of the world’s biggest sporting event, followed up by the US team’s draw with England over the weekend. The biggest contributor of these carbon emissions was the construction and renovation of stadiums throughout South Africa leading up to the event. While this construction was vital to South Africa’s ability to host the games, it also led to the sharp increase of the event’s carbon footprint.
Still South Africa is working hard to offset any negative environmental impacts of the games. One of its biggest initiatives is its brand new high-speed rail system, the Gautrain. The rail system opened just in time for the World Cup and aims to relieve traffic congestion both during the games and in the long term.
Additionally, the Global Environment Facility, the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, and the South African Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) have teamed up to launch a green initiative during the World Cup. The initiative looks to reduce energy consumption with the use of solar panels and promote participation in programs such as the Green Passport program to lower carbon emissions.
Like any popular event, the FIFA World Cup is making its mark on the environment. Thankfully South Africa and organizations throughout the world understand this and have taken steps to protect the environment- that’s a goal for every nation