Delhi will be producing 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases during next years Commonwealth Games scheduled from October 3 to 14. The Organising Committee has now hired NGO Nature First to plan a series of steps to offset this and make Games carbon-neutral.
The Organising Committee will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for further work on the project. UNEP had been closely involved in the preparation for the Beijing Olympics and had prepared a detailed report on the pros and cons of the Beijing model. China had invested US $ 17 billion on environmental projects alone.
Nature First and The Commonwealth Games Organising Committee are also toying with the idea of introducing voluntary carbon offset programmes. Several firms across the world specialise in organising such programmes. The concept involves an individual being able to calculate the carbon footprint caused due to his/her itinerary and investing the same amount on an environmental cause that would make his/her travel carbon-neutral.
The concept,still at a nascent stage in India,is quite popular across the globe. Several airlines,including Continental Airlines and British Airways,have carbon offset programmes. During the 2008 Bejing Olympics,Chinese Technology Minister Wan Gang had reportedly said 1.18 million tonnes of carbon had been released during the event in part because so many athletes and spectators were travelling long distances.
The Organising Committee is currently shortlisting firms that would be able to set up such carbon offset programme.
Another major concern is the amount of waste that would be generated during the Games. We are at present still calculating the estimated amount of pet bottles and paper waste that will be generated during Games, Samir Menon of Nature First said.
Delhi at present does not have a facility for pet-bottle recycling and the New Delhi Municipal Council is in talks with other states,including Haryana,for a tie-up to recycle pet bottles. For paper recycling,all Games venues will have a tie-up with the school located closest to them that has a paper-recycling facility available.
The first step,meanwhile,is essentially reducing energy consumption. We are encouraging practices such as all electronic equipment like computers and air-conditioners are certified to cut down on energy consumption. We will also hold green sensitisation workshops with different stakeholders,including members of the Organising Committee to inculcate basic practices like switching off lights and ACs when not needed, Menon said. CFL bulbs will be used at Games sites.
To bring down air pollution levels and dust around the Games sites and stadiums,Nature First is putting together a list of plants to be used around these venues. Neem and desi kikar top the list. The Ministry of Earth Sciences will be putting up monitoring stations at each site. Amaltas act as good noise absorbers.