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Sustainability at the forefront as Qatar plots a carbon-neutral 2022 World Cup

07:37 BST 27/04/2021
Qatar World Cup 2022
From green transport solutions to sustainable stadium features and tech, Qatar are on-track to host a revolutionary World Cup....

With the 2022 World Cup set to take place in about 18 months, the host nation Qatar are hard at work to ensure the tournament's sustainability reduces the environmental impact and provides legacy benefits. 

And after the 2021 Earth Day, which was celebrated on April 22, Qatar have highlighted steps taken by them to reduce their carbon-footprint around the 2022 World Cup projects and help stage the first-ever carbon neutral World Cup. 

Qatar have already revealed their sustainability strategy for the 2022 World Cup which is based on five pillars - Human, Economic, Social, Environmental and Governance. 

While the human pillar focuses on workers welfare and rights, the social pillar is all about ensuring accessibility and tournament viewing experience for fans who attend the 2022 World Cup. The economic pillar strives to drive economic development around the World Cup projects and the governance pillar will focus on nudging World Cup stakeholders to adopting sustainable practices in the long term. 

Our focus, however, will be on the environmental pillar and how Qatar's strategy for the same will ensure a carbon-neutral World Cup. 

From green transport solutions, advanced technological features to dismantlable stadiums, Qatar are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to host a environment-friendly tournament. 

Sustainable stadiums

It must be noted that each of Qatar's stadiums are mandated to sustainability benchmarks set by Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS). And all the stadiums unveiled so far have received at least a four-star certification from GSAS. In fact, the Education City stadium was given a five-star rating. 

The Ahmad Bin Ali stadium, which was inaugrauted last December, was built after demolishing the old stadium which stood at the same location. But the sustainablity goals that Qatar set themselves meant that 90 per cent of materials from the old stadium were reused or recycled within the new project. Interestingly, trees and plants that once surrounded the old stadium were retained and replanted, minimising damage to the natural environment. 

More importantly, there is the Ras Abu Aboud stadium, construction of which is 80 per cent complete. The stadium will be the first fully dismountable venue in the history of the World Cup!

With a modular design that ensures minimal building materials only need to be used, the venue is a benchmark when it comes to sustainable construction practices. The 40,000 capacity venue will be dismantled after the World Cup and transformed into a waterfront site that will be enjoyed by the local community. Also, a public green space development will replace the stadium site. 

There is a plan to to re-use the stadium building blocks in sport and non-sport projects as well in Qatar and overseas, giving a glimpse into staging sporting competitions that are sustainablity-driven. 

Many of the other stadiums feature modular upper tiers which will be removed after the World Cup.

Green Transport Solutions 

Then, there are the green transport solutions that Qatar have planned out. 

It should be very interesting to note that the compact nature of the tournament, with all eight stadiums located within one hour's distance of each other, has eliminated the need for domestic flight travel during the 2022 World Cup. 

“Using our environmentally-friendly transportation systems, such as the Doha Metro, light rail trams and fuel-efficient buses, will greatly reduce overall carbon emissions,” said Thani Al Zarraa, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy’s (SC) Mobility Director. “And due to Qatar 2022 being a compact tournament, fans arriving in 2022 will only have one return plane journey, which will significantly reduce overall carbon emissions [compared to previous tournaments].”

And to help with fans' travel to and from the stadiums, mass transport systems have been designed around the World Cup venues and the city hubs in Doha. 

The new Doha Metro, in addition to tram and bus services, will help fans travel seamlessly between hotels, stadiums and tourist attractions. In fact, the metro will be the main mode of transportation during the 2022 World Cup. It connects the airport with five stadiums and the remaining venues are accessible by a combination of metro and bus services.

And the metro, which is electric and uses sustainable technology like the regenerative braking system, further helps reduce the carbon footprint. 

Qatar have also introduced a fleet of fuel-efficient buses to ferry the public. About 20 per cent of the buses are electric and the rest conforms to Euro 5 emissions standard, which emits much less pollution than regular vehicles. Qatar is also planning to introduce an innovative, modern and environmentally-friendly electric bus rapid transit (BRT) system.

There are also plans to encourage people to use electric cars, scooters and bicycles to ferry themselves during the tournament.

“The compact nature and clean transport solutions play a key role in delivering on our promise of a carbon-neutral FIFA World Cup in 2022,” said the SC’s Sustainability Director, Eng. Bodour Al Meer. “The green transportation plans will benefit the event and our nation for many years to come.” 

The revolutionary measures taken by Qatar to uphold their promise of a carbon-neutral World Cup are there for everyone to see. The 2022 World Cup promises to set benchmarks that might be guiding lights for future global competitions.