Athens beachgoers use sun to charge devices

Athens beachgoers use sun to charge devices

Beachgoers heading to the open public sandy beach near the city hall of Vari-Voula-Vouliagmeni municipality in southern Athens no longer need to carry chargers for their mobiles, tablets or power banks next to the sunscreen and towel.

As of Tuesday, the dozens of umbrellas scattered along the beach, in line with the safe distancing measures for protection against Covid-19, are fitted with a system consisting of solar panels and USB ports offering free of charge and environmentally friendly charging.

Under a pilot program launched on Tuesday, sunbathers will be contributing to energy-saving efforts using solar energy and will be able to see how much electricity was saved on a website run by the scientists of the Institute of Communication and Computer Systems (ICCS) of the National Technical University of Athens.

The institute's experts cooperated with municipal authorities and the European Commission's Representation in Greece for the program which will last to the end of September, they told Xinhua after signing a memorandum of understanding on the site.

The program named "GrEEnBeach solar charging system" marks the European Green Deal's arrival to the Greek beaches, officials explained.

Under the ambitious deal reached among EU member states last year, Europe intends to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, transforming its economic model to become sustainable and setting out to cut CO2 emissions, to protect the environment, stop climate change and improve quality of life.

"It is a clear example of what we are calling in Europe 'Green transition'. We want to show that on a daily basis we can use technology which is also environmentally friendly. In 2050 we want Europe and our planet to be, if possible, climate neutral, meaning to have zero greenhouse gas emissions which are damaging the planet," George Markopouliotis, Head of Representation of the European Commission in Greece, told Xinhua and other local media.

"It is a very innovative action which actually shows what digital technologies are all about and how they can serve environmental protection," Grigoris Konstantellos, mayor of Vari-Voula-Vouliagmeni municipality, added.

"It is a pilot project and we will certainly evaluate the valuable results at the end of the summer season and we will expand this program also to other open public beaches and suggest it also for closed beaches in our region," he said.

"(The system) allows us to continue our everyday routine even at the beach, but also do this in an environmentally friendly manner. It is a very important initiative that we hope we will expand to other municipalities, other beaches as well as to public squares and all other spaces with crowds," said Dr Angelos Amditis, research director of ICCS.


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