FRIDAY, February 23, 2024

Public Health Ministry takes steps towards sustainability

Public Health Ministry takes steps towards sustainability

The Public Health Ministry is taking steps towards sustainability by adopting solar power and electric vehicles in a bid to reduce energy consumption and tackle global warming.

The ministry's permanent secretary Dr Opas Karnkawinpong said on Friday that 1,855 agencies under the ministry's Office of the Permanent Secretary have been instructed to install solar panels before the end of this year.

Agencies include Provincial Public Health Offices, District Public Health Offices, regional hospitals, general hospitals and community hospitals, according to Opas.

He added that this move is in line with the ministry's Smart Energy and Climate Action (SECA) policy, which aims to boost energy efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to global warming.

He expects this move to save electricity costs of 904.35 million baht annually and reduce 99,458 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

"Some 1,261 agencies in 75 provinces are working on installing solar panels," he said.

He added that installation at 508 agencies was already complete with an electricity production capacity of 47,053 kilowatts, saving 243.46 million baht on electricity bills per year and reducing 26,775 tonnes of CO2.

Opas also outlined the ministry's plans for next year, as follows

• All agencies must install solar power as planned, with the aim of reducing 124,093 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year

• Agencies must change equipment to reduce energy consumption by 20%

• Agencies must adopt electric vehicles and charging stations within 10 years

• Improving buildings to save energy and be eco-friendly

• Increasing green areas by 25% of free space

• Adopting guidelines to take care of patients with respiratory and chronic non-communicable diseases, as well as mental disorders, via telemedicine. This move aims to reduce the volume of outpatients at regional and general hospitals by 10% or 1.6 million visits per year

• Adopting the 3R principles (reduce, reuse and recycle) to boost efficiency in wastewater treatment and reduce the amount of solid waste by 30%

The Public Health Ministry will continue working on the SECA policy by setting up committees and working teams to follow up on progress, as well as picking agencies with outstanding performance to serve as role models for others, he added.