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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A More Important Sochi Problem

Posted by on Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 6:00 AM

There's the yellow water. And then there's the wider environmental damage:

In the rush to complete what ended up being $51 billion in construction in just five years, Russian’s Olympic Committee has played fast and loose with the environmental standards it once promised to uphold. To take just one example of many, Olympic organizers make much of the fact that Russia’s first green construction standards were implemented for the Games. But at the same time, authorities have also reversed legislation protecting national parks in order to allow for those green buildings to go up. As a result, construction of the Olympic village ended up affecting over 8,000 acres of Sochi National Park, a strictly protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As the global news agency AFP recently reported, the area’s sensitive wetlands, home to 65 species of birds, were buried under six and a half feet of crushed rock, while reptiles and brown bears have reportedly gone missing from surrounding mountain areas. Water pollution in the Mzymta River, once a major spawning site, threatens a fifth of Russia’s Black Sea salmon. And while Olympic organizers boast that they’ve planted 1.5 million new trees — three for every one that was cut down — Suren Gazaryan, a zoologist and environmental activist who was forced to flee the country, said that the scattered planting can in no way make up for what was lost.

It goes on. As one sustainability consultant has said: "Sochi should never have happened in that location."


Comments (11) RSS

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Pope Peabrain 1
If only we would try to control the damage being done here by coal companies, etc., we might have room to talk. But here we can't tell people about the chemicals in their water because the government bans information. Pointing fingers is... well... pointless.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on February 12, 2014 at 6:56 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 2
Color me shocked. Shocked!

Estmates suggest that up to a third of that $51 billion was siphoned off by Russia's ridiculously powerful and rich "mafia."

This is why you have $51 billion spent and yet have yellow water, unfinished buildings, horrendous construction problems, and a half pipe that is mostly slush.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on February 12, 2014 at 6:59 AM · Report this
Maybe they'd like a nice tunnel boring machine to make a new habitat for wildlife.Gently used.
Posted by pat L on February 12, 2014 at 7:10 AM · Report this
fletc3her 4
It would make sense to re-use Winter Olympics sites.
Posted by fletc3her on February 12, 2014 at 7:43 AM · Report this
Related story: Activist who pointed out Sochi environmental impact sentenced to three years in prison [Link]
Posted by rainbird on February 12, 2014 at 9:00 AM · Report this
venomlash 6
Russia is a corrupt shithole that still builds things to shoddy Soviet specifications, we know.
Posted by venomlash on February 12, 2014 at 11:05 AM · Report this
south downtown 7
sounds like they were using Conlin's slack Living Building standard for site selection, impacts, etc.

Maybe they could take a cue from Seattle - the masters at green spin - and just call it all "Deep Green".
Posted by south downtown on February 12, 2014 at 11:18 AM · Report this
Eastpike 8
" reptiles and brown bears have reportedly gone missing from surrounding mountain areas. " Reported by whom? Which species of reptiles? Missing? This passage seems dubious.
Posted by Eastpike on February 12, 2014 at 11:37 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 9
Corruption and willful ignorance? In the IOC? Nonsense!
Posted by MacCrocodile on February 12, 2014 at 11:38 AM · Report this
The sustainability consultant (what the hell is that?) essentially said "Sochi should never have happened in Sochi." And everyone just accepted what he said.
Posted by sarah70 on February 12, 2014 at 11:42 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 11
So Putin supposedly chose Sochi because it's his favorite vacation spot? That makes sense. "I love going on vacation here. I think I'll destroy it."
Posted by keshmeshi on February 12, 2014 at 11:44 AM · Report this

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