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By Rhaydz Barcia, The Manila Times
Among the glittering Christmas trees that help light up Albay province at night this time of year, none probably could outgrow the one towering over 40 feet at the Albay Astrodome in the provincial capital Legazpi City. Environment-friendly, this Christmas tree was crafted out of empty drums of aviation fuel and is powered by solar energy. Reputedly zero-carbon and zero-waste, it was lit up for the first time on Wednesday as part of Gov. Joey Salceda’s efforts to raise awareness on negative effects of global warming and the need to minimize thinning of the ozone layer.
“We are launching the ‘Green Christmas’ initiative … in line with our overarching provincial governance goal [to promote] environmental protection and climate-change adaptation,” Salceda explained to The Manila Times. “To set the tone for the [celebration of Christmas] in the entire province, the initiative must begin in the capitol before we publicly unveil the major components of the Green Christmas initiative,” which include aiming for zero casualty from firecracker use and reducing use of plastic shopping bags, he said.
Members of the Philippine Air Force’s Tactical Operations Group 5, led by Col. Guillermo Molina, made the one-of-a-kind tree from 200 of drums of aviation fuel. Ramil Juan Sevilla, the head of the Brightbox LED lighting and renewable energy group, told The Times that the Christmas tree dwarfing the Albay Astrodome is powered by panels that collect solar energy and convert it to electricity.
He also explained that the converted electricity is used to charge the tree’s batteries. “Solar energy is a free, abundant and clean renewable energy source,” Sevilla pointed out. Since the Christmas tree uses solar energy, he said, “we don’t have to deal with carbon emissions.” According to Sevilla, the solar panels can produce electricity even during cloudy or rainy days. He said that the panels could store enough power during peaks hours —10:20 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The making of the solar powered Christmas Tree (click on a photo to launch slideshow)
Photos courtesy of Albay Tourism
This holiday season, Salceda asked provincial government employees to either plant trees, clean up beaches or rivers or conduct fun activities for children. For a safer Christmas and New Year, the governor banned all offices from procuring plastic Christmas trees and plastic ornaments to trim them.
He encouraged provincial government employees “to decorate existing trees in parks and spruce up ornamental plants inside your offices with recyclable or biodegrable decorative materials.” Salceda said that in serving food, plastic or paper plates and cups also should be banned in favor of banana leaves, banana barks, coconut shells and native bilaos.
“These indigenous materials [may] be primitive, but [they] are more earth-friendly and given current trends, more fashionable and more patriotic,” he added. He also enjoined the offices in the capitol to hold a Christmas tree contest wherein entries should be fashioned out from scrap materials.
Source: Solar-powered Christmas tree lights up Legazpi City, The Manila Times