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London 2012: The Greenest Olympic Games in History?
Photo from Wikimedia Commons
With less than a week to go until the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony on July 27th, excitement is building. Hundreds of workers are putting the finishing touches on the massive project that is the 2012 Summer Olympics, but as preparations continue so too do the green aspirations of London 2012. Will the Games live up to the pledge made all the way back in 2005 to create the greenest games ever? The project is huge; a far cry from putting a conservatory up in your garden, so how is it possible to stay green when caring for the environment is rarely seen as the easy option? Read on for a look at exactly how green the London 2012 Olympics will be, starting with the three main stadia. These include the 80,000 capacity Olympic Stadium, the Velodrome and the Aquatics Centre (there are also five additional separate arenas – take a look at the full map of the Olympic Park to really get an idea of its scope).
The Olympic Park
The first real success of the London Olympics was the dramatic transformation of the site itself. The heavily industrialized area of Stratford, East London used to be somewhat of a wasteland before developers started building. The soil contained petrol, tar, oil, solvents, lead and arsenic. Quite the cocktail!
The first step was to clear an area the size of 297 football pitches, removing 2 million tons of soil, which was decontaminated and then replaced, before attention was turned to the River Lea. The waterway has been restored to its former glory through the planting of 300,000 wetland plants and 2,000 native trees.
Once the land was leveled and cleared, building commenced, with plans to incorporate an extensive network of cycle paths. In April, three months ahead of the Games, the Olympic Park was awarded the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificate, for using sustainable timber to construct the buildings – two-thirds of all wood used on site was from managed plantations.
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