National Sports Day and our Environment

N Munal Meitei *

Winners don’t wait for chances but take them. Sports play a very significant role in our present world. A person who engages himself in sports on a regular basis sustains a healthy and wealthy lifestyle. It not only to fosters health but keeps your mind fit. Outstanding achievements knock on your door when one is healthy enough to pass all the hurdles in life.

Sport can be considered as a global phenomenon with its physical, spiritual, social, cultural and economic effects in individual and social terms. Today, there is almost no one who does not have sports experience at any stage of his/her life. It can be said that everyone participates in sports actively or passively and has a sportive experience.

Sport is one of the rapidly growing sectors in the economic and commercial climate of the modern world. Providing on the best service quality and customer satisfaction is the primary goal of the sports industry.

Today, building healthy individuals and strong societies can be associated with the sports industry. Sports inspire patriotism and it do not have the boundaries between the caste, creed, religions and nations.

Sports will be the strongest driving force for war against the drugs among the youths. In the process, the economic volume of sports has grown up with the public and private sector representatives providing sports services has increased.

We celebrate National Sports Day on the 29th August starting since 2012 on the birth day of Major Dhyan Chand, the hockey legend to embrace sportsmanship and brotherhood that corners with sports. The objective of celebrating National Sports day is to highlight the importance of sports in our lives and staying fit and healthy for everyone in the country. This day marks the journey of every sportsman who has made the country proud by representing commendable work, achieved through many hours of sweat and hard work.

One of the important event on this day is the President of India distributes awards to the outstanding sports persons of the year with the highly prestigious awards such as Khel Ratna, Arjuna Awards, Dronacharya Awards, Dhyan Chand Award, among others.

On such an auspicious day, my discussion will be on the meeting point of the sports with our environment. Sport occupies a special place in modern life, with millions of people around the world participating and watching in their favorite games. But ironically, despite its ability to entertain and promote health, sport can also degrade the environment. To remedy this, people across the world are trying, sports to bring a positive force for environmental protection by adopting sustainable practices.

SC Freiburg, a German football club, is working on car idling to reduce the negative impacts of air pollution by setting up a system where each game ticket allows attendees only to take the train for the day to and from the games. The Club is also giving awareness and knowledge to educate sports audiences on environmentally-friendly things during the events. Other strategies include water filtration fountains to reduce water bottle use, compostable straws, a bike-share program, recycling program and more. All of the team’s operations are also solar and wind-powered.

Soccer, as the world’s most popular sport, has the highest emissions. Football grounds, with their massive water use and high energy floodlights, are the site of origin for many environmental impacts. The FIFA World Cup’s ‘Green Goal’ and Olympic Games’ ‘Green Games’ programs are examples of an attempt to draw attention to environmental aspects that are likely to be unique to specific collapse.

Sports for safeguarding environment, the air and water, education for sustainability are the need of the hour. Apart from the environmental impact on major sporting events, the link between sport and ecology is not always obvious. However, sports can be part of the solution, whether it is grassroots or professional sport. Like any human activity, sport takes place in a physical environment. This means climate change doesn’t only affect society but also sport itself. So, it is essential to think about the relationship that plays out between sport and the environment.

As per the International Olympic Committee, the Environment fully deserves to be considered the third pillar of Olympism, after Sport and Culture. The IOC intends to be climate positive and has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% in 2024 and 45% by 2030. In addition to these reductions, more than 100% of the remaining carbon emissions will be offset through the Olympic Forest, a project to plant 3,55,000 trees over an area of 2,120 hectares in Mali and Senegal. This will be part of the ‘Great Green Wall’, a pan-African initiative to combat the effects of desertification in the Sahel.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals has three main title groups; Economic development, Environmental sustainability and Improvement of social well-being. One of the most important actors in this process is sports. Mass facility establishment and increase in organizations in sports accelerate environmental and natural destruction. The sustainability of sports is directly proportional to environmental sustainability. In this way, it will be possible to transfer both the natural environment and sports to future generations.

Increasing environmental concerns have also been linked to sports over time. That is because the negative environmental effects caused by sports have become evident and it has become an area where precautions should be taken for. The relationship between sports and environmental awareness emerged in 1994 when the United Nations Environment Program and the International Olympic Committee began working together to reduce the environmental impacts of the Olympic and Paralympic games.

Today, interest in the environment is now at the center of management debates in large sports organizations to draw attention to the strengthening of the relationship between sports and the environment. The main factor that causes climate change by disrupting the natural balance is human behaviors. At the center of sport is the human whose behaviors disturb the natural balance.

When any sports facility is on implementation, we must keep the criteria such as conservation of biodiversity, conservation of the ecosystem, correct land use and landscape studies, prevention of pollution (soil, air, water), resource and waste management and health and safety measures.

The International Olympic Committee has gathered the adverse effects of sports on the environment under two main headings as being the sports organizations and building facilities. It is necessary to detail the environmental effects of sports. While the greenhouse gas emission caused by FIFA held at Russia in 2018 was 1.8 MM tons which is same as emission of 50 lakh families annual electricity.

Again, it was reported that nearly 70 thousand tons of waste was generated due to a sports organization and only 1% of these were recyclable. These reported numerical data are considered to be high compared to the UN environmental sustainability criteria.

The sport industry has a tremendous impact on the natural environment just like any other industry. The sports industry is one of the most important actors in global environmental pollution. To take this dangerous process under control, strategic management skills and new policies must be developed in sports, because environmental threats are increasing due to the intense interest in sports worldwide.

The global interest and demand for sports increase these environmental effects day by day, reaching a level that will disrupt the natural balance. Sport clubs should invest to green electricity or solar cells which not only reduce costs in the long-term, but might also encourage to behave more environmentally friendly.

Lastly, sporting events should promote the usage of public transportation or car sharing opportunities. In the end, it is important to note that all aspects of sport have a link with the natural environment. Sport is a social institution that will reach future generations with its social, cultural and economic existence. Thus, we can’t set aside sports and also the environment for the human survival.

Therefore, reduction of the sports-induced negative environmental impacts will make great contributions to environmental sustainability. In this way, with the coming of National Sports Day 2022, it will be possible to transfer both the natural environment and sports together to the future generations with a beautiful mother earth.

* N Munal Meitei wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is an Environmentalist and can be reached at nmunall(AT)yahoo(DOT)in
This article was webcasted on August 29 2022.

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