Friday, November 8, 2013

Sochi Olympics not waste-free after all

In the past few days news has come out of Sochi Russia, that Russian contractors have broken their “Zero Waste” Olympic pledge, a pledge that was part of the foundation for Sochi’s bid for the Olympics. Contractors who are building railroads, and roadways are currently dumping round the clock into an illegal Sochi landfill. The government only fined the contractors three thousand dollars, but continued to let the landfill stay open. The landfill resides in an area protected by the Russian Water Code. This is what makes the landfill illegal to be in existence. Environmental experts are stating that water and liquid from the landfill has begun to seep through porous rocks into underground water springs, therefore contaminating about 50 percent of the water in Sochi. Experts expect the water to be contaminated for 10-15 years after the dumping is over. The contractors are saying that they have stopped dumping, but residents of Sochi have stated that they see dumping round the clock in the landfill.
There is no room in the budget to spend to extract the waste from Sochi so the money needs to come from somewhere. In my opinion I think that the contractor should have to pay to correct all of the environmental damage. However part of the blame falls on the Russian Government, if they are going to write a pledge to have no waste and claim they are going to set up recycling plants, and ways to dispose of the waste in a green format and then not do anything, that is a problem at least in my eyes. Nobody forced them to make the waste free Olympic pledge but instead they made it themselves. If they can't achieve what their own pledge set out to do then what’s the point of the pledge at all? The government along with the contractor needs to provide clean water to the residents of Sochi and reimburse any costs the residents face during this time of water contamination. It will be interesting to see if in these next 100 days more environmental issues come up in Sochi or if this is the only speed bump the pledge has hit.

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