Organisers and government preparing to host a ‘carbon neutral’ Pan American Games

Organisers and government preparing to host a ‘carbon neutral’ Pan American Games

Four local natural sites in Peru will benefit from a carbon offsetting project, while single-use plastics will be banned from the event

Organisers of the upcoming Pan American Games in Lima have pledge to make the event “carbon neutral” with the support of Peru’s Ministry of the Environment.

Both the Ministry of the Environment (MINAM) and National Agency of Natural Areas Protected by the State (SERNAMP) will be responsible for measuring the carbon footprint of the event, with all unavoidable emissions being offset through carbon credits.

Projects in four local natural areas – San Martín, Ucayali, Puno and Madre de Dios – will be the focus of the offsetting policy. All four projects are REDD+ certified, going beyond the reactive protection of forest and concentrating on their sustainable management.

Plans to make the event – which begins on 26 July – the “first green” Pan American Games is part of the Ministry of Environment’s Perú Limpio (or Clean Peru) sustainability initiative, which “informs and educates” citizens about good environmental practices.

Perú Limpio has four principles: responsible consumption, clean public spaces, recycling, and the payment of taxes so the government has the resources at its disposal to protect the environment. Peru, as a nation, faces a number of environmental issues. Oil and gas exploration and mining for precious metals having contributed to deforestation, water and soil pollution, as well as the displacement of indigenous people.

Minister of the Environment, Lucía Ruiz, said the Games would mark a “before and after” for sustainable sports infrastructure in Peru. Because of the high-profile nature of the event, Ruiz stressed the need to “promote a new lifestyle, with a green and clean Peru”.

“The event will be in keeping with environmental issues, through the use of solar panels and renewable energy,” she added.

“These Games will represent a change and show the world what we are and what we want to be.”

As part of the Games’ environmental initiatives, food vendors will be prohibited from handing out single-use plastic bags, straws or styrofoam containers. Spectators have also been asked not to bring single-use plastics with them.

Environmental volunteers will support the Games’ sustainability vision by helping with selective waste collection and recycling.

“As a country, this is our chance to manage the environment differently and improve our habits,” said Carlos Neuhaus, president of COPAL, the body responsible for organising the Pan American Games. “Over 400 millon people around the world will be watching us, so we must do things differently. Lima will be in the spotlight and we can do better.”

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