Greens maintain rage over Sochi Olympics
Sochi is preparing to celebrate one year since it won the right to host the 2014 Olympics, but for environmentalists it’s a sad day. They remain angry about the environmental damage caused from massive Olympic construction work.
Miles of forests with the tallest trees in Europe and rare species of plants and animals are at stake. Located on the Black Sea coast, the area also lies close to the ice-capped Caucasus Mountains.
Environmentalists fear the large-scale construction will damage the wildlife reserves of the West Caucasus. They claim some of the government's most ambitious projects lie beyond possibility.
The location of the Olympic village also remains a point of contention between the Russian government and environmental watchdogs.
Meanwhile, the Ministry for Natural Resources plans to spend more than $US 300,000 on measures aimed at preserving the delicate natural balance.
Officials say Sochi needs drastic reconstruction and most of its residents will benefit from it. Building water and sewage facilities is one of the top priorities for the city.
And as officials meet representatives from the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace to iron out the disputed issues, environmentalists seem hopeful.
Sochi's new slopes are expected to host their first competition in 2010.