Tokyo determined to deliver environment-friendly Olympics

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic medals are made from recycled electronic devices donated by citizens. (AFP)
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic medals are made from recycled electronic devices donated by citizens. (AFP)

Dubai - The organisers are looking forward to delivering a sustainable Olympics


Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Sat 10 Jul 2021, 12:32 AM

Last updated: Sat 10 Jul 2021, 12:48 AM

With just 13 days left for the start of the Tokyo Olympic Games (July 23-August 8), the threat from the Covid-19 has forced the organisers to take unprecedented safety measures.

The majority of the Games venues will have no fans in the stands – a last-ditch effort from the organisers to make sure Tokyo 2020 goes ahead without a hitch.

This was not the scenario the local organisers envisioned in 2013 when Tokyo beat Istanbul and Madrid to win the rights to stage the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Japan’s dream was to deliver the most environment-friendly Games in history and set a shining example for future host countries to follow.

While the global health crisis has now forced Japan to hold the Games under a state of emergency, the organisers nevertheless are looking forward to delivering a sustainable Olympics.

During a virtual news conference with select media houses on Friday, Arata Yuki, Senior Director of Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, revealed why this year’s Olympics would be the first of its kind.

From the medals to the podium and the vehicles to be used for athletes, the organisers have taken visionary steps to host environment-friendly Games.

“Today I want to talk about the sustainability of the Tokyo 2020 Games with particular focus on our medal project and the podium project,” Yuki said.

“Sports have the power to change our society and our future. Sustainability has always been incorporated into the Olympic and Paralympic movement.

“The Tokyo Games have always made efforts to make sure that the Games are sustainable even from the bid stage. And we hope that our efforts will be useful in the future Games as well.”

One of the striking features of the Games will be fuel-efficient, driverless vehicles.

“Low-pollution, fuel-efficient and battery electric vehicles will be introduced in partnership with Toyota, the Japanese carmakers,” Yuri said.

The Games will see more than 10,000 athletes vie for around 5,000 medals.

And all of these medals have remarkably been made from recycled electronics -- smartphones and PCs -- donated by citizens.

The facilities at the Games Village, which will house athletes and support staff, have been made from woods borrowed from 63 municipalities.

“The warmth of the woods will provide the athletes a very relaxing environment,” Yuri said.

“After the Games, the woods will be returned to the municipalities from which they came. The woods will then be reused in those municipalities.”

Even the podiums for the medal ceremonies have been made from recycled plastic.

“From 2019, going into the following year, we collected plastic containers from about 2,000 retailers and schools,” Yuri said.

“This project became a good opportunity for citizens and students to recognise the issue of plastic and take action about it.

“This is the first of its kind in the history of the Olympic and the Paralympic Games.

“We have started the project hoping that people from across the world will realise the importance of recycling the resources and also develop an awareness of the plastic issues.”

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