August 12, 2019
Samoa has recently made history hosting the first ever green Pacific Games, implementing a series of measures to reduce the environmental impact of the fortnight-long regional sporting event.
Stepping in after the original host country withdrew, Samoa organised the event in just 18 months, introducing environmentally friendly measures to not only protect the environment but also shift the mindsets of Pacific islanders.
With limited waste management facilities, plastic pollution continues to be a major challenge for Pacific island nations as they struggle with piles of single-use plastic found in modern packaging. Additionally, Pacific island nations also receive marine litter discarded in other parts of the world that wash up on beaches, posing a threat to local biodiversity.
The event banned the use of single-use plastics, providing reusable water bottles to all athletes and establishing over 300 water stations to provide drinking water, which have since been donated to local schools to reduce the use of single-use bottles. Furthermore, no plastic or polystyrene cutlery or plates were used in the athletes’ village.
Event organisers also addressed the Games’ emissions, with the Samoan government’s ‘2 Million Trees’ campaign encouraging all athletes and officials travelling to Samoa to offset their carbon footprints by planting trees in their home countries prior to their departure.
This event is one example of a growing movement to improve sustainability in sporting events. In April, London Marathon organisers replaced 200,000 plastic bottles with edible pods made with seaweed extract filled with water and energy drink.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have also committed to a series of sustainable practices, including producing medals from recycled precious metals from electronic devices, manufacturing uniforms from recycled materials, and powering the competition venues and Olympic Village with 100% renewable energy.
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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.
Kate joined Planet Ark in mid-2019 as an intern from the University of New South Wales where she studies International Studies and Media. With a passion for environmental issues and sustainability, Kate hopes to promote positive and collective environmental action.