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Using our natural energy

A rain water harvesting and alternative energy programme will be among the highlights of this year’s September 22 Arbor Day celebrations centred on the theme: Trees, the Circle of Life.

General Manager of the National Conservation Commission, Keith Neblett, pointed this out today a press briefing at the Commission’s Codrington, St. Michael headquarters to unveil plans for a week of activities, which will climax with an Arbor Day Expo on Saturday, September 22.

Neblett explained that the NCC would be showcasing how it used solar energy to power a pump for the water harvested from the roof to irrigate its plants in the nursery, and power the commission’s security lights.

“We will also be providing information relating to the project for schools and the general public, so when they come into the NCC on tour, or to buy plants they will have an opportunity to see exactly how the water harvesting works, and how the solar project is generating power to supplement a lot of the electricity,” Neblett said, noting that this would be done during the Expo.

He added that the NCC had also started looking at alternative fuel, and already had two lifeguard stations, at Accra and Browne’s Beach, which are powered by solar energy.

“The power generated by solar is used to run the PA [Public Address] system for lifeguards to alert bathers in case there are dangerous tides,” he said.

During the briefing, Neblett also spoke to the NCC’s water conservation efforts, noting that 80 per cent of their facilities were retrofitted with water-saving devices, and now used 60 per cent less water.

But, while the NCC is looking to expand its use of drip irrigation to avoid over wetting of plants, the general manager pointed out they were still facing challenges with getting the public to use less water when they came from the sea.

“We tried a lot of methods that should work but people destroy the system. Where we had two showers we replaced them with one, yet some persons lined up and still used the same amount of water. It is significant wastage,” he stressed.

However, Neblett said it was hoped that the rainwater harvesting project would bring about new ideas on how water can be supplemented.

The rain water harvesting project involves the use of ten 1,000-gallon tanks to store rain water runoff from the buildings on site. That water is then used to irrigate the plant nursery and the gardens on the grounds.

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