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22 Apr, 2008 09:25

Will Sochi Olympics harm the environment?

Senior IOC members are in Sochi to survey developments ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Some construction projects have already come under fire from environmentalists.

The delegation from the International Olympic Committee's Coordinating Commission will check that appropriate locations have been chosen as sports venues. It will also assess the quality of the planning, and its ecological impact.

Russia’s top officials including Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov are also in Sochi.

“We are all united by one great purpose of holding the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi at the highest organisational and technical level. I have no doubt that this task will be 100 % fulfilled,” Zubkov stressed.

Ecologists from UNESCO fear the massive amount of building work being undertaken before the games will harm the flora and fauna in the area.

Meanwhile, the head of the Sochi Organising Committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko, says construction will be friendly to the environment.

“We aim to provide the entire world with one of the most innovative Olympic and Paralympic Games. So the positive sustainable changes in the region will demonstrate Russian soul, Russian spirit and inspire the world,” he said.