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In this blog I will express my personal opinions, ideas and thoughts on topics related to Earth observation, remote sensing and space science in general. I will talk about current news and developments, and there may be more that is not yet known, even to me.

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The Environmental Impact of Artificial Turf at the EURO2024 Fan Zone

I've stumbled upon an article at a German online tech-magazine, and I wanted to let you know because I was so stunned by this thoughtless use of artificial turf.

The fan Zone in Berlin before and during the event (Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2024)

The article discusses the environmental concerns surrounding the installation of a large artificial turf (English version) on the Berlin Fan Zone for the European Football Championship. Alexander Nolte and Oliver Spies, experts in microplastics, criticize the project for contributing to microplastic pollution, which poses threats to wildlife, plants, and human health. They argue that artificial turf should only be used in controlled sports facilities with proper safeguards against microplastic leakage. The article highlights the contradiction between promoting environmental sustainability and implementing such projects, emphasizing the need for better environmental practices in public events. The fan zone is not directly organised by the UEFA, but the organisers (Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH) work closely with the UEFA.

It is difficult to estimate exactly how much plastic, including additives, the Berlin Fan Zone will emit. According to a system analysis by the Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT, the fibre loss of an artificial turf football pitch is between 50 kilograms and one tonne per year. The artificial turf area at the fan zone has three times the size of a football pitch. But this cannot be used to extrapolate the emission of the artificial turf. The strain on the pitch is extremely high during events.

The emission of microplastics to the environment, can have severe impacts on soil and water quality and pose risks to marine life and human health.

The organisers say the artificial turf will be reused at schools and other places (sorry linked article only in German). But what about the time during EURO24, and what condition will it be in when 35,000 people enter it on each of the 21 match days?

Tschüss and Goodbye


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