Solar Energy Powers a Disaster Response School in Marikina


April 12, 2016

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Proper preparation goes a long way.

A new solar power system has armed an elementary school with the right tools to weather the worst floods – especially when power lines are down.

As part of its Earth Hour 2016 campaign, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) recently turned over a solar power system to the Nangka Elementary School (NES), dramatically enhancing its ability to respond to disasters while augmenting its own power supply. Present at the turnover ceremony were Rep. Miro Quimbo of the 2nd Legislative District of Marikina City, Marikina City Mayor Del de Guzman, Marikina DepEd Superintendent Helen Go and NES Principal Teresita Cervantes.

The project is supported by Swedish renewable energy company Telge Energi and aims to support the school in adapting to the impacts of climate change – harnessing solar energy during times of El Niño and storing energy for situations when power is out – like typhoons and floods. The initiative also minimizes the school’s carbon emissions by using renewable energy.

Free, Clean Energy

The project saw the installation of a solar-powered system which generates free, clean and renewable energy for the school, saving on electricity. The project also turned over portable solar lamps which simultaneously charge cellphones and transistor radios while providing lighting for critical areas like first-aid stations and communal bunks during blackouts.

Low-lying and highly-populated, Marikina City is no stranger to floods, with disaster risk reduction and management a critical priority for the local government. NES is one of over 30 Marikina public schools which double as evacuation centers for riverside communities during powerful storms. At the height of the monsoon season in 2013, the school sheltered some 800 families.

Dr. Go, a former WWF Prince Bernhard grantee, says, “Solar power will be harvested for the school’s use, particularly when power lines are down. We are thankful for this project.” Mayor de Guzman agreed. “We need electricity for our day-to-day lives, and renewable energy sources such as solar power can help us fulfill this need. In times of disaster, this will surely augment the response initiatives of the local community.”

12-year old Atasha Colobong, one of the school’s two official delegates to the 2015 Children’s Climate Conference organized by Telge Energi in Sweden last November, asked for stronger climate controls by government, “I ask our public officials to be active in taking care of our environment through the stronger enforcement of laws to stem the effects of global warming.”

11-year old Evita Tagasa, the other NES delegate, reiterated her call at CCC-2015 for the adoption of clean energy technologies. “We, the youth of today, demand our world leaders to think ahead and come up with clean and renewable energy solutions by making use of natural sources of energy like solar, hydro and wind power to avoid pollution.”

Marikina Good Example of Climate Solutions

Over 500 students and teachers were further treated to a WWF Environmental Education module on climate change, learning the science of climate change, its impacts on vulnerable countries like the Philippines, and how communities can best prepare for these impacts while reducing their own carbon contribution.

Congressman Quimbo highlighted the need to protect the environment, “Nangka is the first to be impacted by the effects of environmental degradation. Each one of us has a role to play in protecting our natural environment.”

WWF-Philippines’ Vice President for Sustainable Consumption and Market Engagement, Dr. Ria Lambino, lauded the spirit of Marikina City in addressing climate change, “A perfect example of how we can solve the climate change crisis is the City of Marikina and the community of Nangka. With the collective efforts of our school’s parents, the local government units, and the Department of Education, we have been able to weather strong storms: no flood, no matter how high, has yet drowned our spirit. Changing climate change is – together, possible.”

 

To know more about the story, contact:

Mr. Ruel Bate
WWF-Philippines Environmental Education Unit Head
Rbate@wwf.org.ph

Mr. Gregg Yan
WWF-Philippines Communications & Media Manager
Gyan@wwf.org.ph

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