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South Africa Struggles to ‘Green’ World Cup Venues

DurbanStadiumSome of the nine host cities for South Africa’s first World Cup have built new stadiums that feature natural ventilation, rain water capture and energy efficiency, but struggle with finding ways to offset the huge amounts of carbon emissions that will be generated by the tournament, reports The Telegraph.

The “carbon footprint” for this year’s tournament is estimated at 2.75 million tons of carbon dioxide, nine times higher than the World Cup in Germany in 2006 and more than twice as high as the Beijing Olympics, reports The Telegraph. Emission levels are high because fans will have to fly between the host cities and because the nation uses coal for most of its electricity.

Durban, which is home to one of the new stadiums, plans to offset local carbon emissions by producing electricity from hydraulic turbines or biogas emitted by landfills. Nicci Diederichs, head of the city’s green programs, told The Telegraph, these carbon credit projects will take about two and a half years to offset the emissions caused by hosting the tournament.

Durban, together with other host cities Johannesburg and Cape Town, also have planted thousands of trees to capture the carbon dioxide.

Click here for a complete list of the 2010 World Cup Stadiums in South Africa.

Greening sports stadiums has become big energy savers and carbon reducers for several U.S. sports arenas including the Rose Garden, Verizon Center, Philips Arena, and American Airlines Arena.

Many environmentalists says that the South African governments request for carbon offset project proposals in November came too late. Nkopane Maphiri, a Greenpeace climate campaigner, told The Telegraph, despite the publicity campaigns about the greening of 2010, there aren’t many plans and it’s not feasible at this time to implement even the short-listed projects.

However, Nike has one plan. Nike’s official team jerseys will be made from recycled plastic bottles, reports Treehugger.com. Millions of fans also are expected to wear the eco-friendly shirts, which also takes 30 percent less energy to produce.

The national team jerseys will be worn in South Africa by Brazil, The Netherlands, Portugal, USA, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Serbia, and Slovenia.

By using the recycled polyester, Nike prevented nearly 13 million plastic bottles, totaling nearly 254,000 kg of polyester waste, from going into landfill sites, according to a press release.

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