SOCHI — President Vladimir Putin has countered accusations that construction had polluted Sochi, saying that preparations for the Games had boosted environmental quality in the area many times over.
"The ecological situation in the area has improved, not by a few percentage points, but by two or three, or by some indicators, four times," Putin said Tuesday during a meeting with International Olympic Committee head Thomas Bach.
"All of this is on account of what has been done here," Putin said.
Environmental activists say that Olympic construction has polluted the nearby Mzymta River, produced waste that has been dumped near Sochi's water sources, and destabilized the ground around some building sites.
The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee says the construction work has been tailored to minimize harmful carbon emissions.