Vitoria (Gasteiz in Basque), Spain, was awarded the title of European Green Capital for the year 2012. Former European Green Capitals were the city of Stockholm, Sweden in 2010 and Hamburg, Germany in 2011. For the year 2013, the green torch will be passed on to the city of Nantes, France.
The aim of this title is to promote best practices for other cities, and their citizens, regarding the environment.
Some of the criteria valued for the title are:
- Local Contribution against climate change: Starting from 2006 to 2012, Vitoria-Gasteiz will have reduced CO2 emissions by 300,000 tonnes per year, and in the long term, plans to be a “carbon neutral” city;
- Fostering more sustainable transport: New bus networks, tram routes, and new parking regulations have been implemented. There are bicycle parking spaces, cycle lines, and workshops opened 3-days per week for basic bike maintenance called, “Bike Stations.” This was arranged in order to increase the use of bicycles in the city;
- A high proportion of green public areas, ensuring that the entire population lives within 300m of an open green space;
- An Integrated Waste Management Plan (2008-2016), based on the “5-Rs”:
- Reduce the amount of waste generated;
- Reutilise waste;
- Reject, do not buy products wrapped in containers that generate unnecessary waste;
- Make those who generate a form of waste, that is difficult to recycle or is hazardous, Responsible.
According to the official website, of Vitoria-Gasteiz, they have prepared a complete programme for 2012. Some of activities were being carried out in the past, while others have been created for the 2012 year and may be maintained in the future. Some of the activities include:
- Green Factories: Installations of environmental interests, such as waste and water treatment plants, that can be used as a reference, in terms of green initiatives;
- Thematic Weeks: Four subjects and four weeks focused on:
- Energy-related challenges and solutions;
- The European Green Week, talking about water management;
- Sustainable mobility;
- The future of the territory, biodiversity, landscape, and food;
- School Agenda 21 to instill the importance of sustainable development in children;
- Support initiatives of the citizens;
- Waste Water Treatment to reduce domestic water consumption below 100 litres per capita per day.
Which criteria do you think are important to consider for this award? Which kind of activities would you arrange for a Green Capital?
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