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Artificial snow for Beijing Olympics

Date: 29 January 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

The Beijing Olympics will witness pumping in artificial snow to be used across different sporting events.

 

Background

The winter Olympics are set to be hosted in Chinese capital in February. China has promised ‘green and clean’ winter Olympics.

 

Details

  • Water conservation policies and global warming has combined to put shadows on the ability of Beijing to successfully hold the event.

  • Reports have highlighted the amount of water being wasted to produce artificial snow and also the effects it will have on athletes’ body.

 

Artificial snow

  • In artificial snow, water is injected inside it and treated with chemicals to harden and keep it in place. This is generally recommended for winter Olympics.

  • Report shows that, by 2050 only 10 of the previous 20 venues hosting winter Olympics will be able to produce snow for international level competitions.

 

Producing artificial snow

  • Use of artificial snow for competition is rising as global temperatures increase. The sporting events are dependent on high volumes of water and energy to make slopes.

  • In earlier instances, countries had used up to 90% of artificial snow for conducting the games. Helicopters were used to ferry snow.

  • A snow producing machine has been bought by organizers of Beijing Olympics. Water vapor and snow particles are launched in air where they combine to form snow and fall down.

 

Problems associated with artificial snow

  • The region has been facing water shortages from a long time. Ground water and glaciers have steadily declined.

  • There are estimations that by 2030, the shortages will hit critical mark when demand outpaces supply sources.

  • The precipitation rate is very low compared to other snowing destinations. Combined with dry weather conditions, the evaporation rate is also high.

 

Impact of artificial snow on games

  • Artificial snow is hard and does not melt. It helps in improving technique and also increasing speed of skaters.

  • This snow creates harder and faster slopes and therefore the risk of athletes falling and hurting themselves is higher.

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