Japan has just declared their heat wave a national disaster, after 80 people have died and thousands have been hospitalized due to the high temperatures. Measurements are being placed to protect the elderly and young children as Japan has hit a record high temperature of 41.1C in Kumagaya, just northwest of the capital, Tokyo.
This may be a problem. Tokyo is set to host the 2020 summer olympics and with their heat wave causing numerous deaths, many are wondering how Japan will factor in this issue within the games. They have been planting more trees along the route the runners are set to race but if temperatures continue to rise, the shade from the trees will likely not be enough to protect against possible fainting and dehydration. Luckily, in 1996, the Olympic games created a goal to incorporate 3 main factors into the Olympics: the sport, the culture and the environment. In the past, many countries who hosted the games did not do much to factor in the environmental aspect into the games but with climate change on the rise, this issue is something that cannot be avoided. Now, Japan has released a sustainability report, that ensures that the environment is incorporated into the 2020 Olympics through three main themes.
1) Climate change
The journey to go into the direction of zero carbon emission. Their sustainability report has revealed that Japan plans to utilize their already existing venues instead of using energy and materials to construct new ones, as the stadiums are usually never used after the games. They have said they will use 100% renewable electricity in their competition venues and the Olympic village. The promotion of public transport will also be a focus for Tokyo, motivating tourists to make an effort to use trains and buses to reduce their carbon emissions. The games are usually expected to release nearly 3,600,000 tonnes of CO2 so making even a small effort to keep carbon emissions down assist sustainability during the games.
2) Resource management
The effort to go reach zero wasting. Japan has set a goal to recycle 99% of goods and 65% of wastes from the operations of the games. The Olympic games production of materials is very high due to the amount of visitors entering the country and preparing a goal to recycle that waste will lower the effect they have on the environment greatly.
3) Natural environment and biodiversity
City within nature and utilizing recycled water. Recycling the water that is left after the games will limit the amount of water wasted and reduce the use of Japan’s freshwater sources. This theme that Tokyo plans to focus on also addresses heat management. With their record high temperatures they need to implement more measurements to assist the players and tourists to cope with the heat, especially if these temperatures continue to rise.
Tokyo is already facing effects from climate change and hosting the summer Olympics will only make those effects even more unbearable. Some countries are still facing irreversible damage from hosting the Olympics in the past. Japan following through with the goals they set in their sustainability report will help reduce the negative impact the games will have on the environment but not all of it. Tokyo needs to begin to promote sustainability now and continue to carry it out even after the games, as some of the damage done to their environment will be unchangeable.