Sport failing the environment


Climate change


Credit: Wikimedia

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MADRID: The world of sport is failing to do its part to protect the environment, using huge quantities of oil for travel as well as water resources to make sporting goods, participants at a global forum said on Thursday.

"When we talk about sport and the environment, we should look at travel by sportsmen and women, at the infrastructure, and at the manufacturer of sports equipment," Nathalie Durand, a representative of France's Sports and Sustainable Development Observatory, told the first Global Sports Forum.

Around 900 participants from 28 countries attended the three-day forum in the northeastern Spanish city of Barcelona, called to discuss global challenges in sport, such as the financial crisis.

Durand said one example of sport harming the environment was the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France, which "produced 570,000 tonnes of C02 when only 46,000 tonnes were necessary for the tournament."

At the Tour de France cycling race, there were 2,500 vehicles, "that can be calculated as a million litres of petrol consumed."

Making one pair of sports shoes "uses six litres of oil," and a cotton sports shirt requires 2,700 litres of water, "from the irrigation of the cotton plantation, the treatment of the cotton to its distribution," she said.

The infrastructure for skiing events also damages the environment, and "flora and fauna have trouble readapting each time there is a winter tournament."

"Sport can do good as well as bad," but "it is never too late to take decisions," she said.

The president of the Stade de France sports stadium, Philippe Collin Delavaud, said "infrastructure must improve."

He said he is working with event organisers, sporting federations and others to promote the idea that a rugby or football match "comes with environmental responsibilities."