The Weekly Take

The 2016 Olympic Games attracted around 500,000 tourists to add to Rio de Janeiro’s population of 6 million. On top of this, over 10,000 athletes competed in the games.

The influx of people brought in by hosting the games is sure to create a shock in any community. In 2009, Rio was given the opportunity to host the 2016 games and quickly began pledges to ensure the safety of the environment.

When Tokyo was named home for the upcoming 2020 Olympics, organizers took a similar initiative.

The official Olympics website stated the committee decided, since there are so many medals given out within the span of 16 days, the winners’ medals will be made of recycled electronic devices. This is just one example of their efforts to contribute to sustainability.

Although these efforts are sweet, when I think of Tokyo, I think of beautiful, busy streets and pollution that leads to some of the worst air quality.

That was just my initial thought, but it is worth stating that the website activesustainability.com found Japan is listed as the fifth biggest polluter. So congrats Japan, you’re not quite winning this one.

A 2017 study published by The Lancet, an independent medical journal, found at least 60,000 premature deaths per year were caused by air pollution and particles entering the lungs of Japanese citizens.

How did they get granted this honor of hosting the Olympic Games?

After doing further research, I still have no idea.

There are no articles, studies or research on why this is questionable. My knowledge on environmental health is, quite honestly, limited to say the least. I know that Japan has poor air quality, and when I heard that the largest athletic event is being held there, I could not help but cock my head.

The top and most talented athletes from around the world are competing and exerting energy in one of the worst places to do so.

Nothing outwardly stated why this is not the best idea, but The Japan Times released an article referring to runners competing in the 2018 Asian Games. Indonesian Walker Hendro was grateful to complete the race. He finished in last place, 30 minutes behind the gold medalist. Hendro made it very clear that the combination of heat and air quality largely affected his performance.

There is now less than a year until the Summer Games. Japan may be taking measures to combat negative factors, but there is no way decades of bad air quality will be reversed in time.