When awarded the site for the 2014 Olympic Games, Sochi promised the International Olympic Committee a “zero-waste” Games that followed green building standards to deliver the Olympics “in harmony with nature.” Now with the start of the Olympics on Friday, February 7th, the sustainability of the Games is in question. A TIME article titled, “The Not So Sustainable Sochi Winter Olympics” discusses the failed attempts by Russia to provide the rest of the world a green Olympics.
Some major areas where Sochi has fallen short include excessive loss of biodiversity and illegal waste dumping as a result of racing to finish major construction projects such as the Olympic village, stadiums, and roads in time. In fact, the rush to complete all projects has resulted in a poor quality of construction which could lead to landslides and possible building collapses. The games are already infamous for being the most expensive in history, and now the world is beginning to see the environmental impacts from building the Olympics from scratch as well.
From an environmental perspective, there is a greater challenge in hosting the winter Games as opposed to the summer Games and now critics across the nation agree that Sochi is not the ideal landscape to bear the heavy environmental impacts from construction. The pristine mountainous region is a fragile environment and home to Sochi National Park, an area known for its ecological richness and diversity.
There is no way to know the extent of the environmental harms from the Sochi Olympic Games yet, but we do know these Olympic Games are not nearly as green as promised. This TIME article further discusses environmental issues associated with the Sochi Games.