Russian Trying to Hide the Environmental Costs of Hosting Winter Olympics
February 12, 2014
Vladimir Putin promised that hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics will not have a negative impact on the environment. According to several environmental agencies Mr. Putin has not lived up to his promises to host a 'green Olympics'.
According to the Agency France Presse, Wetlands that provide habitat for several different types of wildlife including dozens of bird species, have been covered with 6.5 feet of crushed rock. Though, Ornithological Park was created as an alternative for the birds to migrate, they have not taken to it.
And it only gets worse from there. Olympics organizers have been accused of illegally dumping construction waste in Sochi national parks. This is destroying parts of Sochi National Park and blocking migrating routes for wildlife. Environmental Watch of the North Caucasus have monitored the activities of the construction sites for the last two years and in response to their reports, they have endured harassment of its members.
Yevgeny Vitishko is the latest victim of this harassment getting a two week jail sentence for swearing in public. This would be just long enough for the games to continue without his intervention. He is not the only one who has been to detained, according to The Guardian Igor Kharchenko after finding his car smashed was grabbed by police in Krasnodar. The police then took him to the police station and charged him with resisting arrest. He was put on trial and sentenced without any legal counsel.
Vitishko has been very vocal about the changes in environmental laws in Russia, from 2006, 2011 and 2013, Russian authorities have weakened the laws to facilitate the Olympic related construction. If he is convicted for other charges he could face up to three years in a labor camp.
It is unfortunate that despite Vladimir Putin's promise to have a 'green Olympics', he could not deliver on that promise. If he could have delivered, it would have helped normalize greener practices for future countries that host the Olympics.