søndag 7. november 2021

Mounting concern over environmental cost of fake snow for Olympics

The mountains that will be the setting of the Alpine events for the forthcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing boast spectacular scenery and breathtaking runs, but lack just one vital ingredient: real snow. Between January and March this year, the National Alpine Ski Centre in Yanqing, about 55 miles north-west of Beijing, had just 2cm of snow. London, Paris and Madrid all recorded greater snowfalls, according to data compiled by the website worldweatheronline.com.

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.