Begin at home
Increased concern about climate change is getting more of us to think of what we can do to help save the environment. Fortunately, there’s plenty we can do – as thousands of Gozitan households discovered thanks to a campaign known as Naqqas u Ffranka (Save and Reduce). A Gozo-wide information campaign launched by the Ministry for Gozo, in collaboration with the Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) of the University of Malta, this project resulted in the holding of house visits to every Gozitan household by eco trainers who provided free advice to families. They suggested ways to save on electricity and water consumption, as well as the benefits obtained from the application of energy efficiency and renewable energy methods, the recycling of grey water and proper waste management.
The ecoGozo Home Consultancy Visits project originates from the ecoGozo Action Plan 2010-2012 and is in line with the Maltese Government’s aim to transform the island of Gozo into an ecological island by 2020. The proposed project was officially launched in November 2011 and household visits were completed by 2012.
The project has now entered its second phase where businesses based in Gozo are being provided with free advice on how to reduce water and electricity consumption, make use of renewable energy and improve on waste separation. This second phase is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2013. This project was initiated with the recruitment of 19 officers by ISE to implement the Naqqas u Ffranka Campaign. These officers were trained on how to perform the door-to-door consultancy visits and were subsequently assessed by ISE before being officially certified as eco Trainers.
Nearly 8,000 families have been visited which amounts to 85% of families living in Gozo. A typical visit by an eco Trainer should last approximately 30 minutes. A booklet containing information on ecoGozo’s objectives, tips on energy and water conservation, renewable energy technologies possible and better waste management, was distributed to all the households during these visits.
The eco Trainer explains the information included in the booklet by giving practical ideas related to everyday chores. These range from energy conservation tips and ideas on site, such as best solutions on water conservation to be applied in the bathroom or kitchen of the respective residence. Where possible, rainwater harvesting and the use of second class water are also suggested to be implemented in order to reduce water consumption.
The Naqqas u Ffranka campaign further complements the distribution of a water saving device and in the coming weeks this will be followed by distribution of water saving kits in Gozo through the SWMED project which is an EU funded project with the Ministry for Gozo as one of the partners.
This article was published on the Sunday Circle of the January 2013, issue 217. Please click here to download the article.