The International Olympic Committee (IOC) now faces mounting questions about the environmental cost of the Games, which open on 4 February, including claims the alpine runs were constructed in a protected nature reserve. It has been calculated that Beijing 2022 will need about 49 million gallons of water to create the required artificial snow. “These could be the most unsustainable Winter Olympics ever held,” said Professor Carmen de Jong, a geographer at the University of Strasbourg. “These mountains have virtually no natural snow.”
She said artificial snow was water- and energy-intensive, damaging soil health and causing erosion.