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Tuesday, August 22, 2000
Greenpeace steps up campaign to highlight broken Green Games promises

 SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Environmental activists on Tuesday started carving the word "Toxic" into a vacant field adjacent to Sydney Olympic Park to highlight the failure of Sydney 2000 organizers to meet key "Green Games" promises.

 Greenpeace spokesman Matt Ruchel said about two dozen supporters were using brush cutters to create the giant message that would be visible from the air.

 Ruchel said the New South Wales state government, which is underwriting the Sept. 15-Oct. 1 Olympics, had no chance of meeting its own pre-Olympic deadline on cleaning up dioxins at the site.

 "We want the millions of visitors to Sydney's Green Games to know that just 21/2 kilometers from athletes and spectators remains one of the most polluted waterways in the world," he said.

 The state government plans to sell the site, but will have to complete a major toxic cleanup before the sale. A government spokeswoman said Tuesday that cleanup work would probably begin January, and that four companies have expressed interest in the land.

 Dressed in safety overalls, masks and breathing apparatus, environmentalists also started the long process of repacking dozens of barrels of waste from the polluted site to ensure they met minimum safety standards.

 Olympic Park was built on a site that previously contained industrial and chemical manufacturing areas and vast tracts of wasteland.

 Sydney 2000 organizers have included a number of environmental and recycling initiatives in the venues and Olympic villages, but Greenpeace said the measures had not gone far enough.

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