Greening the Pitch

13 Sep 2020

On 25 August 2020, sports ministers of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) met virtually to discuss the 2021 games, which would be hosted in India. In fact, plans are afoot to host the Khelo India Youth Games 2021 parallelly with the BRICS games next year. 

After the temporary suspension of all sports activities due to the pandemic, sports stadiums around the country are looking forward to hosting sporting events and tournaments in 2021. However, the pandemic is not the only crisis that we are dealing with currently. The threat of climate change is not going away anytime soon and the only way to combat it is by reducing emissions. 

Stadiums and sports complexes are some of the largest consumers of resources and the scope for making them sustainable is immense. A conscious effort will have to be undertaken by the concerned stakeholders to make this change for a better future.   

Traditionally, stadiums in India are not eco-conscious or sustainable. They have considerable energy demands and high emissions levels, produce thousands of tons of waste, require water in large quantities and often, expand and renovate without environmental and ecological considerations. 

However, a small movement has already been initiated by CII in making our stadiums greener. With over 7.5 billion square feet of green space and almost 6,000 green registered projects, the CII Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) offers an array of services including ratings and certifications to encourage a sustainable built environment that also promotes energy efficiency. CII-IGBC believes that the places where we live, work, play, study, worship and transit should go green. 

The Council has been working towards building green and self-sustainable stadiums. Till date, four stadiums have been certified and a fifth one is under process. These have been built with a focus on promoting eco-friendly initiatives such as using solar energy, conservation of water, rainwater harvesting and effluent treatment plants, among others. 

In 2013, the Thyagaraj Sport Complex in New Delhi became the first green rated stadium in India. Spread over an area of 16,000 square metres, the stadium was built with green building technologies and eco-friendly material. 

It is equipped with a gas panel for energy supply and currently solar energy is being used for lighting purposes. The stadium features effective water management systems such as rainwater harvesting and sewage treatment with two lakh litres a day capacity. 

In February this year, the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad was awarded a Gold Green rating. Some of the green features incorporated in the world’s largest cricket venue envisages potable water saving of 12 lakh litres every year and potential energy savings of over 12 lakh units annually. 

The stadium has been built with rainwater harvesting capacity of 32 lakh litres per day. Going a step further, the stadium has around 11 acres of vegetation to enhance biodiversity and 100% LED lighting usage to reduce energy consumption. It has an onsite sewage treatment plant of 1 MLD capacity to treat and reuse 100% wastewater for landscaping and flushing requirements. 

Globally, the number of stadiums using renewables and implementing sustainable initiatives has increased substantially in the past few years. In fact, in Europe, using renewable energy to power stadiums has become quite common. 

In days to come, we will surely see sports going green as more and more stadiums become environmentally friendly.

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