In 3 days on the 11th of June, the entire world will be descending on South Africa as it hosts the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ for the first time in Africa the poorest of all continents. The event will highlight South Africa in a once-in-a-lifetime way.
Football or Soccer I would say is the most popular game in the world and the game played by most number of people across the world and to many it reaches the heights of religious fervor. Millions herd to watch the matches in stadiums and billions watch it from the comforts of their homes. The good part is that it is a coming together of the world for 30 days to play and celebrate the best players in world football.
There are 32 teams (representing 32 countries from around the world) who will be playing each other and going through 4 rounds until a winning country or the world champion is decided. This is the 19th edition of the world cup which like the Olympics is held once in 4 years. Italy is the defending champions and Spain & Argentina are considered favorites.
Basic things which would affect the Carbon Footprint:
In South Africa the matches are spread over 9 far flung cities; Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Rustenburg and Tshwane in Pretoria. The distances to be travelled, the sheer number of visitors, volunteers, organizers, players & support staff etc and of course the brand new stadiums! Simple geography will also be one of the main reasons: foreign visitors will travel a total of 7.1 million kilometers (4.4 million miles) to cheer their teams at the southern tip of Africa, their planes emitting tons of carbon.
The renewal/ new construction of stadiums have a large Carbon footprint resulting from the use of virgin cement. The cement industry is one of the main producers of CO2. For every ton of cement there is one ton of carbon produced.
All these add to the carbon footprint of an event of this magnitude. So what is being done? How Green will the World Cup be?
What is being done to lessen impact?
Natural ventilation, rain water capture, energy efficiency: the new stadiums built for Africa’s first World Cup incorporate top-notch environmental standards. But the reality is carbon offsets albeit good are something which does not make an event carbon-neutral, Carbon produced is carbon produced.
The Green Goal program is aimed at identifying potential impacts, avoid or minimize the impacts where possible and compensate or offset unavoidable adverse impacts.
The cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban have also planted thousands of trees to capture the carbon dioxide blamed for global warming. Durban is the most ambitious of the nine host cities, planning to compensate for local carbon emissions by producing electricity from hydraulic turbines or biogas emitted by landfills.
Other environmental impacts associated with major football events results from activities of football fans can manifest themselves in following ways:
- Increase in the use of water;
- Increase in the use of energy (liquid fuel and electricity [majority of SA energy is coal generated]);
- Increased production of waste; and
- Increase in pollution – air, water and land.
For the first time in the history of the World Cup Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth will have all its energy from renewable sources: i.e. Wind energy; courtesy the 1.8MW turbines installed by Vestas. The turbine belongs to Electrawinds, a Belgian renewable energy company whose operating assets up to now have all been in Europe. Managing director Luc Desender says “it is my personal dream to reserve the first green electricity of Electrawinds in South Africa for the 2010 football world championship.”
Under the system of “carbon credits”, these projects will take two and a half years to offset the emissions caused by hosting the tournament in Durban, said Nicci Diederichs, head of the city’s green programs.
Though unhappy with what is being done, some Green activists look at the inadvertent improvements as the positives steps towards a greener future. They believe one of the most positive legacies will probably come about inadvertently in the form of improved public transport and the bus-rapid-transport system specifically. They believe it will offset the greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50%.
Some Interesting facts and predictions about the 19th World Cup:
- An estimate puts the expected numbers of visitors for the world cup at 10 million plus!
- According to the Cape Argus newspaper, 2000 planes will fly over South Africa every day, for the whole of the 2010 World Cup.
- South Africa’s Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica warned Reuters in 2009 that the 2010 World Cup “will have the largest carbon footprint of any major event with a goal to be climate neutral.
- The 19th World Cup’s footprint will be six times the carbon footprint of the 2006 FIFA World Cup hosted in Germany and almost twice that of the Beijing Olympics!!
- Norway and South Africa have joined hands in a partnership that aims to make the 2010 FIFA World Cup—the first one organized on African soil—kind to the environment through the reduction of CO2 emissions.
- The South African government has invested an estimated $12 billion during the past four years in infrastructure for the Cup. Critics say the money could have been better spent alleviating poverty.
From June 11th to July 11th it will be football fever worldwide, and I believe if each fan takes one step to help offsetting the carbon footprint of their favorite event our world will be better off.
- Plant a Tree!
- Walk/ Bicycle / Carpool / Use public transport to get to work.
- After work and after watching the world cup match turn off power strips and lights.
- Increase your plant consumption, buy local produce.
- Check out this link for more Green tips
Live Green! Green is a lifestyle for a better tomorrow.
Follow the World cup 2010 here
Watch the World cup live online here