The World Cup, for which South Africa left no stone unturned to make the stadium as green as possible, might just bring in with it elements that are blamed for environmental depletion. The new stadiums built for Africa’s first World Cup incorporate green features like natural ventilation, rain water capture and energy efficiency. The greening efforts don’t end there, thousands of trees have been planted in the cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Apart from the trees, Durban is also planning to produce electricity from hydraulic turbines or biogas emitted by landfills.
But all these eco-friendly initiatives might just go in vain because visitor travel for the World Cup will raise the environmental cost. Foreign visitors traveling to the southern tip of Africa to cheer their teams will travel a total of 7.1 million kilometers, emitting tons of carbon. Even the South Africa visitors will emit 900,000 tons due to flying between the far-flung host cities, in addition to the country’s reliance on coal for most of its electricity. The carbon footprints in South Africa’s World Cup are estimated to be nine times higher than the World Cup in Germany in 2006 and more than twice as high as the Beijing Olympics. The balancing act of the enormous carbon emissions caused by holding the tournament at the tip of the continent is left at the mercy of the locals.