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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Qatar’s world cup body takes on fight against plastic pollution

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The World Cup body partnered with an international plastic clean-up association in efforts to host an eco-friendly FIFA 2022 tournament. 

The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy has partnered up with an ocean clean-up organisation to ensure a plastic-neutral World Cup next year. 

“With just over one year to go until Qatar hosts the FIFA World Cup, environmental sustainability remains at the heart of tournament preparation, with the aim of leaving behind a green legacy as one of its key objectives,” the committee said introducing the initiative with Seven Clean Seas on Wednesday. 

“As part of this commitment, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) has recently partnered with Seven Clean Seas to deliver a plastic-neutral tournament,” it announced. 

Under this partnership, the Qatar 2022 organisers will be working closely with the pro-environment organisation to fulfil a common goal to raise awareness on “plastic pollution, develop plastic waste reduction plans and offset plastics used in the tournament by physically removing plastic waste from rivers and oceans.”

The World Cup body noted that “the amount recovered will be equivalent to the plastic waste generated from the hosting of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and will ensure the tournament is plastic neutral.”

This comes as part of the FIFA World Cup Sustainability Strategy to reduce waste and raise awareness on its adverse impact on the environment. 

“Waste reduction has been a major focus of ours from the beginning, from the moment we broke ground to build our stadiums. Since then, our FIFA World Cup Sustainability Strategy has launched several initiatives to raise awareness about waste and recycling, minimise waste and achieve world-class recycling rates,” said Bodour Al Meer, the SC’s Sustainability Director.

She noted that the latest move will support the organisation’s goal in educating the public about plastic pollution and enhancing strategies aimed at reducing plastic waste, and ultimately clean rivers and oceans from plastics. 

“It is the first time this concept has been implemented on such a scale,” she added.  

Read also: Over 1,100 electric buses set to transport fans at ‘green’ Qatar 2022

“The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Sustainability Strategy includes a comprehensive set of initiatives to mitigate tournament related emissions, including energy-efficient stadiums, low-emission transportation and sustainable waste management practices at stadium construction sites,” the body said in a statement. 

“In addition to plastic neutrality, Qatar 2022 will be the first FIFA World Cup to achieve carbon-neutrality as well.”

Founder and CEO of Seven Clean Seas Tom Peacock-Nazil said “the most recent estimates suggest that 11 million tonnes of plastic enter the oceans globally every year,” noting this is equivalent to 50kg of plastic pollution per metre of coastline.

“This plastic poses a serious threat to vital marine ecosystems, marine and birdlife, coastal communities and human health, so we must act quickly!” he added. 

The strategy comes as a response to urgent calls to save the planet.

The Seven Clean Seas hopes to achieve this through helping “people, companies, and events identify their plastic consumption, reduce unnecessary use and offset what is necessary by investing in projects that directly tackle the issue in some of the world’s most affected locations,” he said.

So far, the environmental organisation has recovered over 200,000kg of ocean plastic.

“By partnering with large events like Qatar 2022 we will be able to substantially increase our environmental and social impact,” he added.

The FIFA World Cup 2022 is due to be held in Qatar in November next year. The global event will mark the first such major tournament to be held in the Middle East.


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