Few cities know what they’re really signing up for when they bid for the Olympics, but with the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro rapidly approaching, these may be the worst for environmental issues since concerns about Beijing’s air quality in 2008. The issue currently facing the Rio Summer Olympic organizers is that of water pollution, and that it may be too dangerous for both visitors and athletes.
Brazil’s Struggle to Meet Sustainability Requirements
Brazil has long been known as one of the worst countries in the world when it comes to clean water, air, and sustainability. When they made their bid for the Summer Games, they promised to solve the water pollution issue by treating 80 percent of the sewage permeation by 2016. This came alongside a myriad of other goals to make the home of the Summer Olympics one of sustainability and safety. However, very few of those goals have been met, and the rest of the world is concerned.
A recent report from ESPN stated:
“Water improvement plans that were projected to take place by the host organizers will not happen for the largest part…These [water] processing facilities were not built and will not be built in the immediate future to impact water quality at the Games.”
“The IOC and Rio Organizing Committee recognize that the water quality in and around Rio is for the most part not at an acceptable level and there [are] significant fluctuations in the bacterial and viral contaminants at the competition venues. The levels of pathogens will fluctuate depending upon environmental impacts and especially with significant rains. The IOC is tracking the weather impact using historical data. Additionally the IOC and Rio organizers are studying the current flows in and around the competition venues.”
The hope now is that these committees can at least improve the water quality around the venues. Otherwise, they’ll be trucking in millions of gallons of water for both consumption and sport.
The current environmental status of the country has more than a few organizations and athletes worried. Most sports organizations have a strong background in environmentally friendly operations, including tennis, which is known for advocating sustainability around the world. These sports are the polar opposite of what we’re seeing in Brazil, and there’s a chance the entire operation could be shut down.
Other Olympic-Sized Concerns
In addition to water contamination, another issue is the current Zika virus scare, which could have millions of spectators, coaches, and athletes questioning their visits. Zika has been linked to microcephaly, a condition that affects the fetus of pregnant women, and results in the baby having an abnormally small head.
Unfinished venues surrounding Rio’s Olympic Park are also a major issue challenging the Games. The track and field, swimming, cycling, and international media center are all incomplete as of now, and there are less than five months until the opening ceremony in August.
Brazil made strong promises when they made their bid for the Summer Olympics in 2009, but since then, very few promises have been kept. The promise for a sustainable Olympic Center has come to pass, but at the cost of thousands of resident homes, and pollution in the surrounding areas from the construction efforts.
Several athletes have expressed a disinterest in competing in a place where they could not only get sick, but where sustainability and economy has taken a major backseat to other endeavors. If the city can’t get their issues resolved by the opening ceremonies, the Olympic Committee may need to look into an arena that can meet the water, air, and public health needs required for such a major event.
Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage
While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.
If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.
Repair and Maintain Appliances
Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.
Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.
When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.
Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full
It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.
The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.
Recycle Water in Your Yard
Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.
You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.
Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants
Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.
Install Water-Saving Features
The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.
There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.
Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City
Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.
If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.
Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism
When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.
After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.
How was it started?
It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.
How to go about it?
So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.
If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.
What can be learned?
Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .