IOC defends Rio 2016 environmental impact
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - March 1, 2015 - 1:02pm

RIO DE JANEIRO (Xinhua) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has defended the environmental impact of the Rio 2016 Games after activists tried to disrupt a meeting of the organization's top officials on Saturday.

A group of protesters burst into the lobby of a five-star hotel on Rio's Copacabana beach, where IOC president Thomas Bach was meeting with his executive board.

While the meeting was being held on another floor, the activists caught the attention of dozens of journalists who were waiting to attend a press conference by Bach.

Games organizers have been criticized over the location of the Olympic golf course, which is being built next to a nature reserve, and the slow progress of clean-up work to Guanabara Bay's polluted waters.

"We are not against the Olympics, but we are against the corruption around the golf course that is being arranged by the mayor (Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes)," demonstrator Jean Carlos Novaes said. "They are stealing with the Olympics as an excuse."

Bach said the project to clean up the bay showed the IOC's commitment to environmental responsibility.

"All of this without the Games would not have happened," Bach said. "So, again, it's clear evidence what a positive legacy these Games are leaving in the infrastructure, the social, and in the environmental areas."

Bach insisted 80% of the bay would be cleaned in time for the Games, despite admissions from Rio state authorities that the target to improve sewage treatment would not be met.

The IOC chief did not comment on reports of delays to dredging of another polluted inlet near the Olympic Park complex.

Another protester, identified only as Sandra, also expressed her ire at the golf course construction.

"We're not against the Olympic Games," she repeated. "This is about the golf course. We have two golf courses. We don't need a third."

Last week Paes caught IOC officials off guard by admitting his opposition to the course.  

"I hate to have to done this course, if it was up to me we would never had built it," Paes was quoted as saying by the Globo newspaper.

Bach later told reporters: "With golf, I'm a little surprised because as we all know, the mayor was pushing very much for this to happen."


 

BACH COPACABANA GUANABARA BAY INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE JEAN CARLOS NOVAES OLYMPIC GAMES OLYMPIC PARK PAES RIO MAYOR EDUARDO PAES THOMAS BACH
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