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On today's episode of the How to Protect the Ocean podcast, we delve into the concerns surrounding the surfing event at the Paris 2024 Olympics. While the Olympics are set to take place in Paris, the surfing competition will be held in Tahiti's Teahupo’o Bay, a renowned location for its waves and subsistence fishing. However, there is a contentious issue regarding the construction of an aluminum tower for the event. Local Tahitians are worried about the potential damage to coral reefs and fish populations. A protest has been organized, and we will discuss the details in this episode. Stay tuned!

Link to article: https://news.mongabay.com/2023/12/reef-damage-from-2024-olympics-surfing-venue-is-avoidable-commentary/

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The surfing event for the Paris 2024 Olympics is set to take place in Tahiti at Teahupo’o Bay, a renowned location known for its legendary waves, making it an ideal spot for surfers. Teahupo’o Bay is also recognized for its subsistence fishing, where local fishermen catch fish for their own consumption and sometimes sell them at local markets.

The selection of Teahupo’o Bay for the surfing event highlights the area's natural beauty and significance. The bay's coral reef plays a crucial role in creating the waves that attract surfers, while also providing a habitat for various fish species. The local fishing communities depend on these fish for sustenance and their livelihoods.

However, concerns have been raised about the potential negative impacts of the Olympics on Teahupo’o Bay. The construction of an aluminum tower for the event has raised worries among locals about the damage it may cause to the corals and fish populations. The tower will be placed within the shallow coral reef, requiring the installation of concrete bases and potentially displacing parts of the reef.

The protest against the tower's construction is driven by the desire to protect the environment and ensure the long-term sustainability of Teahupo’o Bay. Local surfers, fishermen, and community members have taken to social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok to raise awareness about the issue. They have also launched an online petition, which has garnered over 195,000 signatures.

Acknowledging the concerns raised by the local community, the Olympic Committee has made some changes to the construction plans. The proposed tower will now be smaller and lighter, reducing its potential impact on the reef. Additionally, the existing wooden tower, which has been deemed safe, will be utilized instead of building a new structure.

Despite these modifications, doubts still remain about the potential damage caused by the construction process. Videos have surfaced showing a barge getting stuck on the coral reef during an inspection, raising questions about the effectiveness of the proposed measures to minimize harm.

The controversy surrounding the surfing event in Teahupo’o Bay highlights the tensions between hosting large-scale events like the Olympics and preserving the natural environment. The concerns of the local community regarding the long-term impacts on the reef and fish populations are valid, and their efforts to raise awareness and push for changes should be supported. It remains to be seen how the Olympic Committee will address these concerns and ensure the sustainability of the event.

The locals in Tahiti are deeply concerned about the construction of an aluminum tower for the surfing event during the Paris 2024 Olympics. They fear that the construction and placement of the tower within the shallow coral reef of Teahupo’o Bay will cause damage to the corals and fish populations in the area. The tower will require concrete bases to be installed, displacing some of the reef and potentially disrupting the natural ecosystem. The locals rely on the coral reef for subsistence fishing, and any harm to the reef could have severe consequences for their livelihoods and food security.

The protesters argue that the construction of the tower goes against the sustainability goals of the Olympic Committee. While the committee has made efforts to make the Olympics more sustainable by reusing buildings and using a cruise liner as the Olympic village, the construction of the tower in Teahupo’o Bay contradicts these efforts. The locals believe that the existing wooden tower, which has been deemed safe, should be used instead. They argue that the construction of a new tower is unnecessary and poses a risk to the delicate coral reef ecosystem.

The protesters have taken various actions to raise awareness and oppose the construction of the tower. They have created videos on Instagram and TikTok, launched an online petition, and organized a protest. These efforts have garnered significant support, with over 195,000 signatures on the petition. The local fishing community, surfers, and the general population of Teahupo’o are all united in their opposition to the tower.

In response to the protests, the Olympic Committee has made some concessions. They have proposed reducing the size and weight of the tower to minimize its impact on the reef. They have also pledged to use electrically propelled barges with a shallow draft during construction to prevent damage to the coral. However, the protesters remain skeptical, citing evidence of damage caused by a barge during an inspection of the proposed tower site.

The controversy surrounding the construction of the tower highlights the tensions between hosting large-scale events like the Olympics and protecting local ecosystems. The locals in Teahupo’o Bay are concerned about the long-term consequences of the construction on their environment and way of life. They are calling for more sustainable alternatives and greater consideration of the local ecosystem in the planning and execution of the Olympics.

The episode discusses a protest that has emerged against the construction plans for the surfing event at the Paris 2024 Olympics in Tahiti. The local Tahitian community, including fishermen, farmers, and surfers, are concerned about the potential damage to the coral reefs and fish populations in the area. They have created an online petition that has received over 195,000 signatures and have used social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok to raise awareness about the issue.

In response to the protest and concerns, the Olympic Committee has made some changes to the construction plans. They have decided to reduce the size and weight of the aluminum tower that was initially proposed, making it similar to the existing wooden tower that has been deemed safe. The construction will involve concrete bases and drilling rods into the reef, but the committee claims that the smaller size of the tower will require less disruption to the corals. They have also scrapped plans for drinking water and wastewater connections to the mainland and will remove internet and submarine electric cables after the event. The majority of the tower will be temporary, but a three-meter pole above sea level will remain.

However, there is skepticism and mistrust from the local community regarding these changes. They have shared videos on social media that show a barge inspecting the proposed tower site getting stuck on the coral reef and causing damage. This contradicts the committee's claims of minimal damage during construction. The community is calling for the use of the existing wooden tower, which they believe is safe and would not require additional damage to the reef.

The episode emphasizes the importance of continued activism and support for the local community to protect the coral reefs and fish populations in Tahiti. It encourages listeners to sign the petition, engage with social media accounts, and consider boycotting the Olympics if the construction plans proceed without further changes.

 

Direct download: HTPTO_E1543_Paris2024ThreatensTahitiCoralReef.mp3
Category:Conservation Story -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

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