Russia is said to have not stuck to its “Olympic Games without waste” pledge. An investigation by AP has revealed that tons of construction waste have been disposed of into an illegal landfill, which could contaminate the local water supply. The Winter Olympics is to take place in February 2014, in the city of Sochi in Russia.
However, the news does not come as a surprise for many. In 2010, several politicians and experts had warned that holding the event at Sochi, a town bordering Black Sea, would be an ecological disaster.
The report said that even before the Olympic construction started, Sochi’s landfills were illegal and much of the waste was being disposed of into the Black Sea without proper treatment.
Mikhail Odinstov, Auditor of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, back then warned; “At the peak of construction, we will have about 5 million tons of garbage with no place to legally utilize it”. Despite everything, the Russian Federation pledged the event would be a “Zero Waste” project.
This program sought to recycle all raw waste and to produce less waste during the preparation for the games. The committee started holding seminars to find ways to try and reduce the amount of waste produced. Seminars were also held to create mobile systems for recycling.
The dumping was done by the Russian Railways, which is also building a highway between Sochi and the nearest airport. AP also claims that they have procured a letter from the region’s environment agency during August that acknowledged the illegal dumping. The Russian Railways paid a fine of $3000 for the dumping, though. But despite the fact that it lies within a protected waterway zone, the dump was not closed.
Meanwhile, at present, the officials claim that the dumping has stopped, whereas the local residents say it continues and that it is almost triple the size of a football field. An activist has been quoted as saying that the water from the area will contaminate Sochi’s fresh water springs for at least more than a decade.