Quantcast
Popular
Max Pixel

International Olympic Committee Makes 'Biggest Commitment Ever' to Fight Plastic Pollution

The world of sport is not immune to the problem of plastic pollution. Stadiums and arenas can become filled with discarded cups, bottles and straws after sporting events. Sailors, swimmers and surfers are competing in oceans and waterways with an ever-growing presence of marine debris.

That's why on Monday the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced plans to eradicate single-use plastics from the organization and its events around the world. What's more, seven major sporting bodies and representatives from more than 20 National Olympic Committees have joined the UN Environment's Clean Seas campaign to help bring awareness to marine litter and stem the plastic tide.


The sports bodies making efforts to cut plastic waste include World Sailing, the International Association of Athletics Federations, the International Triathlon Union, the International Ice Hockey Federation, World Rugby, World Golf and the International Surfing Association.

"This is the biggest commitment ever made from sport to address plastic pollution," said Erik Solheim, the executive director of UN Environment and a member of the IOC Sustainability and Legacy Commission, in a statement. "The International Olympic Committee's Clean Seas pledge will transform the awareness and use of plastic waste in sport. We are delighted to see the actions taken by so many sporting organizations as well as sponsors."

One of the initiatives from World Sailing is to eliminate single-use plastic at events (with the exception of boat branding) by 2019.

"We are thrilled that the IOC are calling on sport to join forces in reducing marine litter," Dan Reading, sustainability program manager at World Sailing, stated. "As sailors, we see the problem first hand in our Oceans but all sports have a part to play."

International Triathlon Union president and IOC member Marisol Casado added: "As with any organization that organizes large-scale events around the world, it is our duty to mitigate the environmental impact that we have.

"We are committed to reducing the use of plastic at our events, using recycled and recyclable products wherever possible and working with all our stakeholders and athletes to ensure that it becomes common practice in every corner of the globe," she noted.

According to a press release, the IOC said it has already begun reducing waste at both its headquarters and the Olympic Museum in Switzerland. It aims to drive responsible material use at all IOC events in collaboration with its suppliers by 2020.

The IOC will also provide educational toolkits and workshops to the sports community and is working on coastal clean-ups, campaigns and education programs with the 17 nations in Oceania, a region seeing first-hand the impacts of marine debris.

"The IOC is embracing sustainability in its day-to-day operations, as well as taking a proactive leadership role to inspire Olympic stakeholders and the wider sports community to implement best sustainability practices," said Prince Albert of Monaco, who serves as the Chair of the IOCSustainability and Legacy Commission in a statement. "Making a pledge to the UN Environment's Clean Seas Campaign is another important example of how the IOC is implementing its Sustainability Strategy."

Monday's announcement from the IOC was supported by its sponsors that have also made pledges to reduce marine litter: Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical Company and Procter & Gamble.

The sports bodies made the following commitments towards the Clean Seas movement:

  • World Sailing will pledge to implement an ambitious waste reduction strategy for all its events by 2019, and launch an education program to reach an estimated 70 million sailors.
  • The International Triathlon Union will work closely with its local organizing committees, national federations, stakeholders and the IOC to raise awareness of the issue of marine litter.
  • The International Surfing Association will elect a Sustainability Partner by the end of 2018, aiming to implement a plan to use, reuse and recycle plastics at ISA World Championships by 2019, and expand its education materials on sustainability.
  • The International Ice Hockey Federation is decreasing plastic use and encouraging recycling at its headquarters, and providing recycling education opportunities at national and youth camps.
  • The International Association of Athletics Federations has pledged to introduce measures to reduce plastic waste at future IAAF events, and encourage IAAF member federations to follow suit in addition to its air quality partnership with UN Environment.
  • The International Golf Federation is working with governing bodies, national associations and grassroots facilities to drive more responsible resource use through the GEO Foundation.
  • World Rugby has undertaken a variety of actions to reuse and recycle, and will implement new measures with a focus on the reduction of plastic waste.
  • National Olympic Committees from around the world will be joining the Clean Seas movement with their own commitments—such as Spain and Germany, which are reducing waste and working on raising awareness nationally.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Renewable Energy
A prototype of GE's massive new wind turbine will be installed in the industrial area of Maasvlakte 2 in Rotterdam. GE Renewable Energy

World's Largest Wind Turbine to Test Its Wings in Rotterdam

Rotterdam's skyline will soon feature the world's largest and most powerful offshore wind turbine.

GE Renewable Energy announced on Wednesday it will install the first 12-megawatt Haliade-X prototype in the Dutch city this summer. Although it's an offshore wind turbine by design, the prototype will be installed onshore to facilitate access for testing.

Keep reading... Show less
Insights/Opinion
Colorful, fresh organic vegetables. fcafotodigital / Getty Images

A New Diet for the Planet

By Tim Radford

An international panel of health scientists and climate researchers has prescribed a new diet for the planet: more vegetables, less meat, fresh fruit, whole grains and pulses, give up sugar, waste less and keep counting the calories.

And if 200 nations accept the diagnosis and follow doctor's orders, tomorrow's farmers may be able to feed 10 billion people comfortably by 2050, help contain climate change, and prevent 11 million premature deaths per year.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Children's books about the environment. U.S. Air Force photo / Karen Abeyasekere

This State Might Require Public Schools to Teach Climate Change

Reading, writing, arithmetic ... and climate science. That doesn't have the same ring as the "three Rs" of education, but Connecticut could one day require the subject to be on the curriculum, The Associated Press reported.

A Connecticut state lawmaker is pushing a bill to mandate the teaching of climate change in public schools throughout the state, starting in elementary school.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
NASA's ICESCAPE mission investigates the changing conditions in the Arctic. NASA / Kathryn Hansen

These Eye-Opening Memes Show the Real 10-Year Challenge

Before-and-after photos of your friends have probably taken over your Facebook and Instagram feeds, but environmentalists are using the #10YearChallenge to insert a dose of truth.

Memes of shrinking glaciers, emaciated polar bears and coral bleaching certainly subvert the feel-good viral sensation, but these jarring images really show our planet in a worrying state of flux.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
Vial containing swab from a deceased duck, collected for testing during the 2014-2015 avian influenza outbreak. © 2015 Erica Cirino, used with permission.

Could Trump’s Government Shutdown Cause Outbreaks of Wildlife Disease?

By Erica Cirino

The current U.S. government shutdown could worsen ongoing wildlife disease outbreaks or even delay responses to new epidemics, according to federal insiders and outside experts who work with federal wildlife employees.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Vegan raw cheese from cashew nuts. byheaven/ iStock / Getty Images

Vegan Cheese: What’s the Best Dairy-Free Option?

By Ansley Hill, RD, LD

Cheese is one of the most beloved dairy products across the globe. In the U.S. alone, each person consumes more than 38 pounds (17 kg) of cheese per year, on average (1).

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Insights/Opinion
Sun setting behind the Fawley Oil Refinery in Fawley, England. Clive G' / CC BY-ND 2.0

Even Davos Elite Warns Humanity Is 'Sleepwalking Into Catastrophe'

By Jessica Corbett

Ahead of the World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland next week—which convenes the world's wealthiest and most powerful for a summit that's been called both the "money Oscars" and a "threat to democracy"—the group published a report declaring, "Of all risks, it is in relation to the environment that the world is most clearly sleepwalking into catastrophe."

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
Robusta coffee beans growing on a tree. Dag Sundberg / Getty Images

60% of Wild Coffee Species at Risk for Extinction

If humans don't wake up now to the threats posed by climate change and habitat loss, we may be in for a permanently sleepy future. A study led by scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew found that 60 percent of wild coffee species are at risk for extinction.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!