A pioneering initiative to make the 2006 FIFA World Cup not only entertaining but environmentally-friendly is proving a winning team, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) announced Monday.
According to a statement from UNEP, the "Green Goal" project -- the inspiration of the Local Organizing Committee for the 2006 FIFA World Cup and the German Ministry of the Environment -- aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions from transport and electricity generation during the month long tournament. The project gets support from UNEP and private business.
Other aims of the project include defeating the waste mountains normally associated with large scale public events as well as using rainwater for pitches and creating environmental public awareness among fans.
UNEP said in the statement a preliminary snapshot indicates that the "Green Goal" is meeting if not exceedingly expectations.
The Local Organizing Committee had hoped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions drastically. Initial estimates are that this is well on track with some 70 percent of journeys being made on foot or by train, bus, coach and bicycle with only 30 percent by private car.
On average, 55 per cent of spectators have been using public transport to travel to and from the stadiums. Some cities have exceeded expectations. For example, in Munich, an astonishing 60 percent have used the underground train. A significant proportion of fans have also been walking to matches especially in Dortmund, Hanover, Kaiserslautern and Leipzig.
The Kombiticket is one reason for the success. The ticket allows spectators to travel free on public transport on match days.
"Green Goal" is also scoring in other areas of the park, for example in the area of waste reduction at the 12 stadia.
"Environmental considerations have been making a first and very welcome appearance at a World Cup. And according to initial assessments, they appear to be well on the winning side," Achim Steiner, UNEP's executive director said in the statement.
Klaus Toepfer, the Green Goal Ambassador and former UNEP executive director, said: "We will have to wait until the final whistle to fully gauge the Green Goal's success. But the various tactics, from those aimed at encouraging public transport to the ones designed to minimize waste, appear to be hitting the net. The only losers so far appear to be car parks with some only half or semi full."
"I hope and am confident that the ideas and strategies put in place for this tournament can be adapted and developed for other mass audience events from football to pop concerts," added Steiner.
"This FIFA World Cup sets up records nearly every day: top viewing figures, visitors at the Fan Festivals and sold out stadiums. That is why we are extremely happy that for the first time we were able to achieve environmental objectives. The share of spectators who leave their cars behind is sensational," Horst Schmitt, first vice president of the LOC stated proudly.