Minimizing the damage

Beijing needs to construct 12 new sports facilities for the Olympic Games. In order to minimize the negative impact on the environment, BOCOG has worked out a number of guidelines for the design and construction of the new venues. «The green standards stated in the guidelines are stricter in general than the existing national standards,» BOCOG Venue Planning and Environment Department Executive Director Yu Xiaoxuan said. Many new constructions or renovations relating to the Games have adopted «green technologies» or highlighted a thrifty use of resources. A total of 100,000 square meters of ETFE (ethylenetetrafluoroethylene) foils will be pasted on the exterior of the walls and roof of the National Aquatics Center, dubbed the Water Cube. The structure is expected to help save half of the energy for lighting during the day, experts said. A centralized air-conditioning system to be installed in the Wukesong Indoor Stadium would economize energy consumption by cooling according to the actual needs. Solar energy would be used to power air conditioning on the baseball ground and also for lighting in other parts of the stadium. And an optical-fiber lighting system would transmit the daylight to the underground parking area. Buried underneath the National Indoor Stadium were 8,000 tons of waste steel scraps supplied by the Capital Iron & Steel Group. The heavy material served the float-combating purpose well and the utilization solved the problem of proper disposal. In the Olympic Village, another 3,000 tons of steel scraps were used to construct the roadbed. Manhole covers made of cement glass fiber composite materials were used in the Olympic Village to replace traditional ones made of cast iron, to save the non-renewable iron resources. And solar energy was used to supply hot water for construction workers and for lighting on construction sites and in offices. The development of subway and light rail transport has quickened in Beijing. Construction is under way on subway lines 4, 5 and 10, as well as two special lines connecting the airport and the Olympic Green, the official name for the Olympic park. Their combined mileage reached 115 kilometers. By 2008 Beijing will have 202 kilometers of subway in operation, hopefully carrying 10 percent of city traffic. Apart from implementing strict emission standards, Beijing plans to make 90 percent of its public transport vehicles and 70 percent of local taxis adopt clean energies by the end of 2007. BOCOG said the 4,000-plus vehicles to be recruited by the Games for dedicated use were expected to give zero or few emissions, with the help of hybrid or fuel cell technologies. BOCOG released the Green Olympics logo on September 24, 2005. Five days later, its Environmental Management System passed ISO auditing and certification. In 2005 the Green Olympics, Green Action promotion team delivered more than 180 lectures to more than 70,000 people in 15 districts and counties across Beijing. Green Olympics-themed contests involving paintings by children and digital videos by college students became popular events among the local residents. Some of the works even impressed the IOC officials. Pal Schmitt, chairman of IOC’s Sport and Environment Commission, was quoted as saying that Beijing «will be able to achieve its goals for Green Olympics.» BOCOG signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Environment Program on November 18, 2005. The two sides agreed to effectively cooperate in the gathering and sharing of environmental information, and promotion and education of environmental protection. (1) China Features, which is affiliated with the state-run Xinhua News Agency of the People’s Republic of China, provides features to overseas print media.