Vodafone, EPA launch Green Project to integrate climate change
The management of Vodafone Ghana and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday jointly launched a project, the “Green Project,” to help integrate climate change issues into telecommunications in Ghana.
The two-year GH¢150,000 project is being financed by management of Vodafone Ghana as part of a wider strategy to establish an early warning system for disaster prevention and recovery in Ghana.
The project, which would be coordinated by a steering committee and a team of four technical experts from the EPA and Vodafone Ghana, would develop systems to allow identification and rollout of Next-Generation Networks (NGN) that would help reduce energy consumption by 40 per cent and lead to overall efficiencies of operations.
Ms Sherry Ayittey, the Minister of Environment, Science and Technology (MEST), commended the managements for the initiative and called for closer collaboration of all telecommunications industry players with the MEST.
She said the collaboration should be in their dealings with respect to the mounting of communication masts, to help reduce their possible impact on communities during disasters.
Ms Ayittey said climate change had become one of the most fundamental challenges to ever confront humanity, with its impact and associated risks which were real and already happening in many countries and sectors including water resources, food security, costal zones and health.
Ms Ayittey said the role of the telecommunications industry in climate change was increasingly receiving significant and growing global and national attention, “considering the fact that the industry uniquely interfaces with climate change as both victims or as heroes”.
Ms Ayittey said telecommunication was considered among the sources of greenhouse gases, contributing 25 per cent globally through upstream and downstream energy-use and produced emissions that add to climate change.
“As heroes they can be part of the solution by providing a channel for mass education and help decarbonise other sectors of the economy by involving other industry players in their activities to help suppress the dreadful effect of climate change,” she added.
Ms Ayittey said government was passionate about the issue of climate change and launched the “Abor Day” last June to educate the public on the necessity and benefits of tree planting in Ghana.
She said the Vodafone-EPA joint project would provide a sound launching pad for sending strong messages to the wider telecommunication industry and galvanise private-sector support to contribute to environmental issues especially in combating climate change.
Mr Gideon Quarcoo, the Deputy Minister of Communications, said the Ministry was already giving Information Communication and Technology (ICT) and Climate Change priority by developing a Green ICT policy as part of the ICT policy in Ghana.
He lauded the initiative, saying there were a lot of collaborative works going on in the telecommunication industry and the Vodafone-EPA project would assist various sectors of the economy especially the agricultural sector to yield to advice and warnings of planting and harvesting seasons.
Mr Edwin Provencal, Vodafone Representative, said management considered the initiative as part of its corporate social responsibility in approaching its business and aimed responsibly with a strong awareness of their surroundings and environment to fulfil stakeholders’ expectations.
He said the company had initiated some Green projects including the efficient use of energy in its operations, control of emissions and radiation within the guidelines of the EPA, and seeking to extend the network to some remote parts of the country, using low energy equipment which was primarily solar powered.
Mr Provencal said other technologies such as forced air cooling which reduced the need for air-conditioning, deep cycle batteries which could eliminate or reduce the use of generators and introduction of low energy lightening, all geared towards reduction of the impact of its networks on climate change.
He said the project would also generate, review and collate existing data on climate change and the telecommunication industry.
Others are to determine telecommunication activities that could contribute to or be impacted upon by climate change, conduct environmental monitoring, using telecommunication in support of disease reduction and management trading of telecommunication experts.