Concerns are growing that the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics may have a negative impact on the environment as many competitions will be held on man-made snow. Almost a daily amount of drinking water for 100 million people will be turned artificially into snow over the Olympic period, increasing concerns that residents around event venues will face a severe water scarcity. Although China promoted its pursuit of eco-friendliness during the opening ceremony with a smaller-sized flame on display, the very opposite is happening on the site.
Beijing does not only have a climate not conducive to winter events but also has to spend more electricity and water producing snow amid growing global temperatures due to a warming planet, according to CNN on Saturday. The International Olympic Committee estimated that around 49 million gallons of liquid water or 185.48 million litters will be used to provide artificial water to competition venues, which is equivalent to the volume of water that 100 million people drink a day.
As severe droughts have hit most of regions where outdoor competitions during the Olympics open over this winter, China has become highly dependent on artificial snow, say experts. With only an average snowfall of 200 millimeters a year, Zhangjiakou, a city which hosts outdoor competitions, is one of the driest regions in China. An available amount of water per person in the city is less than a fifth of the national average. Although it takes 200m³ of water to fill in ski resorts in Zhangjiakou, only 53m³ is reported to be secured as of now, said the Bloomberg.
China seems to be proud of realizing a “eco-friendly” Olympic event. Director Zhang Yimou said that the smallest torch ever in history at the opening ceremony on Friday is a representation of the Chinese government’s green efforts to say no to a larger-sized flame that wastes a bulky fuel.