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Dakar and the environment

How organisers mitigate the environmental impact for Dakar 2014.

Salar Del Uyuni in Bolivia, one of the ecologically sensitive regions through which Dakar participants will race in 2014

With thousands of participants, spectators and support team members, the Dakar is bound to have an environmental impact.

Travelling through areas of pristine wilderness, and breath taking scenery, the endurance event has, in previous years incurred the wrath of various environmental groups.

While it's estimated to add millions to the economies of the countries it passes through, environmentalists worry about the effect on the local ecology, and in many cases, sites of archaeological interest.

When the rally moved to South America in 2009, the Argentine Environment Minister Romina Picolotti was strongly opposed to hosting part of the event.

She accused organisers of looking for a region where there was little control, and suggested they try it in France.

But Picolotti assumed office too late to stop the race's route through her home country, and for the past six years, the rally has traversed some of the wildest parts of Argentina.

In Chile, archaeologists, environmentalists and the national Monuments Council raised serious concerns about the route through that country, saying there was too much potential for irrepairable damage to sites of scientific interest.

Of particular concern to them was a series of geoglyphs - figures on hillsides and plains.

Environmentalists have raised their concerns too - the ecology of many of much of the route is fragile and finely balanced.

Some groups, among them, the UN-accredited Argentine group, FUNAM cited the noise and disruption of hundreds of vehicles ploughing through untouched wilderness could have lasting effects on indigenous indigenous fauna.

For their part, race organisers are confident the rally brings more benefits than it does harm.

They work closely with local authorities to ensure the route doesn't interfere with ecologically sensitive areas, and doesn't do damage to historical, archaological or paleontological sites.

Since 2011, they've been offsetting all direct emissions to the tune of 460-thousand US Dollars.

That money will go to the Madre De Dios project to help save over a hundreds thousand hectares of forest in Peru.

The waste generated by the army of participants andf support crews is also a factor, and organisers need to ensure that nothing is left behind.

They process and dispose of around 60 tonnes of plastic, aluminium paper and glass at the bivouacs, where particpants spend their nights.

Specialised waste disposal companies are employed to get rid of the vehicle-specific waste, including thousands of litres of used oil, tyres, rags and batteries.