(UN NewsCenter) - A pioneering initiative to make the 2006 FIFA World Cup not only entertaining but environmentally-friendly is has already emerged as a winner, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said today.
The UNEP-backed 'Green Goal' project, inspired by the Local Organizing Committee and the German Ministry of the Environment, aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions from transport and electricity generation during the month-long tournament, reports Trend.
Other aims include defeating the waste mountains normally associated with large scale public events as well as using rainwater for pitches and creating environmental public awareness among fans.
Committee President and German football legend Franz Beckenbauer had hoped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions drastically partly by encouraging 50 per cent of the estimated 3.2 million fans to take public transport and partly by alternative energy projects in India and South Africa.
Initial estimates are that this is well on track with some 70 per cent of journeys being made on foot or by train, bus, coach and bicycle with only 30 per cent by private car.
'Green Goal,' which is also supported by private businesses, is scoring in other areas of the park, for example in the area of waste reduction at the 12 stadiums. This is partly as a result of ideas like the 'Cup of the Cup,' which averts waste by requiring fans to pay one Euro for a special drinks cup with the containers the only ones allowed inside the grounds.
Surveys indicate that the initiative is paying off with only the occasional paper napkin used for sausages marring what have become virtually litter-free zones.
Environmental considerations have been making a first and very welcome appearance at a World Cup, and according to initial assessments, they appear to be well on the winning side, said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
We will have to wait until the final whistle to fully gauge the 'Green Goal's' success, but the various tactics, from those aimed at encouraging public transport to the ones designed to minimize waste, appear to be hitting the net, said Klaus Toepfer, the Green Goal Ambassador and former UNEP Executive Director. The only losers so far appear to be car parks with some only half or semi full.
I hope and am confident that the ideas and strategies put in place for this tournament can be adapted and developed for other mass audience events from football to pop concerts, added Mr. Steiner.