Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Accra: Power From Waste

Photo taken by myself
Image via Wikipedia
A waste management project, expected to clean up the Accra Metropolis (AMA) is set to commence in August 2010. According the Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mr. Alfred Vanderpuije, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has already been signed with a private company, EWS Ghana Pty, to set up a processing plant in Teshie - Accra. 

While this exercise is expected to clean up our filth-engulfed capital, it is also expected to generate about 45 megawatts of power, which will be fed into the national grid.

It is expected that the people of Accra will see some effects of this agreement within the next four to five months, with the provision of over 140 waste vehicles and refuse containers for waste collection.

My interest with this project however, lies more with the way it addresses the issue of waste dumping. In several communities where collected waste is dumped, the AMA has had to deal with legal issues which arise as a result of conflicts with the residents.

One cannot blame these residents considering the hazards waste dumping causes to their communities. Such communities are always an eyesore, with so many flies, stench, insects, land-water-air pollution and all its attendant diseases. With this project however, there has been another agreement with the Ledzokuku Krowor Municipal Assembly to use the site for plant, and the waste will not just be dumped but processed. This means the hitherto dumping communities can have their peace of mind, and we all enjoy a cleaner and safer environment to live in.

"Waste is gold and the nation can raise a substantial amount of money for her development, if it invests in it.....The developed nations have processed their waste into energy, and that has helped to address some environmental problems", he concluded.

Like I always say, even this effort cannot do much if we do not change our attitudes towards the environment. You can do your part.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ghana Launches "Greening Ghana Project"

Campaign poster for {{w|John Atta-Mills}}

Image via Wikipedia

Ghana's President, Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills, yesterday launched a nationwide forest plantation programme dubbed "Greening the Environment for a Better Ghana". 

With the nation's forest resources reduced from 8.2 million hectares in 1900 to 1.2 million hectares currently, the project is aimed at halting deforestation. Within the next five years, the project also aims at creating over 51,000 jobs for the youth.

The deletion of the forests and its resources have been largely attributed to the activities of illegal chain saw operators over the years. The president noted that apart from the huge amounts of money lost in terms of revenues, the country's environment has also suffered significantly. Rainfall patterns seem to change every year and floods, massive erosions and destruction of some protected species have all been attributed to these misdeed.

According to the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Collins Dauda, Ghana loses about 65,000 hectares of forest resources annually to the activities of illegal loggers and chain saw operators. Now for any Ghanaian, this should be a disturbing trend. Though the president has urged the security agencies to beef up efforts to arrest these "anti-environmentalists", the onus lies on all Ghanaians to rise up to this challenge and be ambassadors of this project for our our sake and for posterity.

God bless our homeland Ghana.

 

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Green phone runs on Coca-Cola

Every innovation is worth mentioning, no matter how weird or fanciful it sounds. Just imagine powering your mobile handset by filling it with Coca-Cola, yes I mean the soft drink!



And even if Nokia thinks this is too futuristic, at least the prototype has been designed.

As part of her final university project, Ms Daizi Zheng, a Central Saint Martins graduate, developed this "greenphone" concept for Finnish phone giant Nokia. What makes this a green technology is the fact that it has the potential to be fully biodegradable. According to Ms Zheng, her prototype could last up to four times longer than the traditional lithium ion batteries currently powering most phones and gadgets.

The bio battery produces electricity by releasing enzymes that catalyse the sugar in the soft drink, leaving behind water and oxygen as the battery dies out.

Though Nokia is not considering a possibility of pursuing this concept in the near future, many electronics companies are developing bio batteries that could be on the market within the next five years, she added.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti in Crises: Earthquake Meets Deforestation

Haiti Earthquake 13.01.10

Image by caritasinternationalis via Flickr

Even before last Tuesday's devastating 7.0 earthquake in Haiti, the island nation had been going through several years of political strife, economic embargoes and natural disasters. There had been one disaster after the other in the past years, from diseases to mudslides, to floods. And the list grows taller and taller.

With a legacy of been the most deforested nation in the world (97% deforested), Haitians practically live a life of meal to meal and not even day to day. For most, survival means cutting down trees for charcoal, which they either sell or use for heating and cooking.

Massive floods have fueled erosion that has crippled the agricultural industry in Haiti, not leaving that of transportation. Many roads have been washed out and people usually develop cold feet when they have to travel. For even the brave travelers, one cannot consider closing his or her eyes to catch a quick nap, considering the many dangers associated with traveling on the devastated roads. Watch this.

And all this was before the breath-taking earthquake, which has left over a hundred thousand people dead. One wonders whether the nation can be able to recover from this hit, and even if it can, how long this will take. With several infrastructure completely wiped out, who will have the peace of mind to think of environmental sustainability when there is no place to lay one's head?.

In other related news, singer Wyclef Jean's YĆ©le Haiti Organisation has raised more than $400,000 to support restoration of victims. Donations of $5 are made by texting "Yele" to "501501" (Does this work in Africa? Someone tell me please). Similar efforts by Red Cross has raised over $800,000, and this is also by texting "Haiti" to the number "90999", which results in a $10 donation. Readers are however warned of people who will use this to promote several online scums to enrich themselves. Beware.

An Akan proverb says "If you see the beard of your friend in flames, you better fetch water and place it by yours". As we help restore Haitians in various ways, let's also remember to promote environmental sustainability in our own small ways.

Our consolations to the good people of Haiti.


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