Researchers to unveil techniques for controlling weeds in cassava

Deputy Director-General, International Institute for Tropical Agriculture(IITA),Ibadan, Dr Kenton Dashiell; Project Leader, Cassava Weed Management Project, IITA, Dr Alfred Dixon; Senior Programme Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lawrence Kent; and the Technical Advisor,(Africa & Middle East) ,Agronomic Product Development, Bayer CropScience, Dr Mohammed Elsherif, at the 2017 Cassava Weed Management Project annual workshop at IITA, Ibadan on Monday.

Deputy Director-General, International Institute for Tropical Agriculture(IITA),Ibadan, Dr Kenton Dashiell; Project Leader, Cassava Weed Management Project, IITA, Dr Alfred Dixon; Senior Programme Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lawrence Kent; and the Technical Advisor,(Africa & Middle East) ,Agronomic Product Development, Bayer CropScience, Dr Mohammed Elsherif, at the 2017 Cassava Weed Management Project annual workshop at IITA, Ibadan on Monday.

Researchers working under the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture led Cassava Weed Management Project (IITA-CWMP) will this week share findings and recommendations on how to tackle weeds in cassava farming systems.

The sharing of research findings is part of activities marked for a week-long annual review and planning meeting and Steering Committee meeting scheduled to hold 27-30 March 2017 at IITA in Ibadan.

“We are optimistic that the key findings from our research will help farmers to tackle the problem of weeds in cassava, with the view to having more yield,” says the Project Leader of IITA-CWMP, Dr Alfred Dixon, who is also a Director with IITA on Monday.

Declaring the meeting open, Dr Kenton Dashiell, IITA Deputy Director General, Partnership for Delivery, said the goal of the project was to take off drudgery due to weeding in cassava farming systems.

“I am happy that this meeting will share findings that will impact positively on weed control,” Dr Dashiell said.

Grown on about 7 million hectares, cassava is a major staple in Nigeria and it has transited from a food security crop to a cash crop. However, yield per ha of the root crop is about 8 tons per ha or less than half the amount realised on research stations. One of the major factors affecting the yield of cassava is weeds. Most of those involved in weeding are women and children, often times skipping classes to assist in weeding in Nigeria.

In 2014, the Cassava Weed Management Project was conceived to address the problem of weeds in cassava. The 5-year project which is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is exploring diverse weeds control methods including the use of simple motorised implements, use of safe and environmentally friendly herbicides, and the use of best-bet agronomic practices.

This year, which is the fourth, researchers, will make available findings of what has been done over the period.

Lawrence Kent of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said the findings of the project would contribute to improvement of cassava with positive impact on women and children who bear the burden of weeding in cassava.

“Our major task in this meeting is to translate research findings into recommendations that farmers can use to improve cassava farming and their livelihoods,” he said.

Dr Dixon said the project is in an exciting phase. “This is an exciting time for us… Because we are going to begin the sharing of new findings to farmers and farmers will begin to benefit,” Dr Dixon said.

The IITA Cassava Weed Management Project is being implemented in Nigeria by IITA in partnership with the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, University of Agriculture Makurdi, and the state-based Agricultural Development Programs of Abia, Benue, Ogun, Oyo; and non-governmental organisations including the Justice Development and Peace Movement (JDPM) in Oyo and Abeokuta, and KOLPING in Abia.

For more information, please contact: Godwin Atser,, Communication & Knowledge Exchange Expert.




Science ministry set up business development unit for CSIR

By: Lydia Asamoah
The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) is to set up a business development unit to help highlight various technology and innovations of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
“You have done a lot except that people do not know what you are doing, and we will make it known to the public so that what is happening here would be highlighted because it is good for our nation,” Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Sector Minister has said.
“If I look at what is happening in the area of water research, it will improve not only the health of Ghana but businesses and also your incomes as well,” he said.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng was speaking during an interaction with management and staff of the Water Research Institute of the CSIR in Accra.Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng
During a working visit to the institute, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said he was very impressed with the work that went on at the CSIR, especially the Water Research Institute and that the change Ghana wanted would start from the Ministry, because without science and technology agriculture would not improve and there would be no industries.
“My joy is that the President of the Republic has set the tone and I am serious with what I am saying, he has said that we cannot continue like this, we cannot continue to rely on an economy that is based on the export of raw materials alone but we need to go into industrial goods and services and be independent from foreign capital and influence. This is what CSIR is about,” he said.
He said government had also planned to increase research and development budget from 0.3 per cent to one per cent and ultimately to 2.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product which would help in the innovation, modification and improvement of the country.
The Minister expressed misgivings over the wanton pollution and destruction of the environment with pesticides, weedicides and plastic waste saying; “I wish we could ban weedicides which is destroying our land”.
“We have to take a stand on weedicides; it affects crops like yam and the habitats of animals and birds like vulture. Weedicides also affect the pollination by insects,” he said.
Dr Victor Agyemang, the Director General of CSIR, said the Centre was bracing itself to work with government to ensure the economic progress that Ghana sought.
He said the one village one dam policy project and the one district one factory programme of the new government would well fit into the activities and work of the CSIR and the staff was ready for any collaboration.
Dr Agyemang said there were 10 issues of national interest which the Council had prioritised and needed special attention.
These were illegal mining which was destroying most water bodies, aquaculture decline, the need to monitor the constant treatment of sachet water, issues of industrial effluent discharge into water bodies, pollution of ground water by oil the sector as well as the challenge of commercialising the technologies of CSIR.
He said there was also the issue of encroachment of CSIR lands, the use of pesticides and its effects on surface water bodies and water rigs and funding research.



UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson Commends Ghanaian Bamboo Bike Maker


On his recent visit to Ghana to deepen bilateral relations between Ghana and the United Kingdom, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson took a ride on one of the bamboo bikes produced by the internationally recognized Ghanaian manufacturing company Booomers International Ltd. This happened during an interaction section with a few small and medium enterprises in Ghana supported by the UKAID. As a great biker himself, he became fascinated with the make and the design of the bikes and decided to take a ride on the bike which he later described as very light and comfortable.

Mr. Boris Johnson was very optimistic a product like that of Booomers will do very well on the UK market and therefore encouraged the Chief Executive Officer of Boomers International, Mr. Kwabena Danso to tap into the opportunities that exist in the UK to expand the company’s market base. Among the dignitaries who were with Mr. Boris included the UK Trade Envoy to Africa, Mr. Adam Afiriyie and the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr. Jon Benjamin who is has been a great admirer and supporter of the company. The Ghanaian Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr. Alan Kyerematen was very enthused about the bikes and the fact that they were made from Bamboo in Ghana.

On his part, the CEO of Booomers International mentioned that the UK market is the company’s prime focus this year and that they are seeking to build partnership with potential distributors across the UK. “We are very passionate about using whatever opportunities are available in solving problems in rural Ghana since that is the genesis of a lot of the country’s problems. Due to lack of economic opportunities, a huge number of the young people in rural communities migrate to the urban areas in search of livelihood and it is against this background that the company is using the opportunity to train and employ youth in rural areas. We are looking at creating the Bamboo village which will become a catalyst for job creation and also create the value chain for bamboo just as China has done”,he said.

Booomers International is introducing three new products in addition to their current bike frames. These are the tricycle and balance bikes for children and the bamboo speakers. These products will be on the market at the beginning of March, 2017.

Booomers International is a social enterprise which was established in 2014 as the commercial arm of the Yonso Project to undertake the commercial production of bamboo bicycles and accessories. Currently, the company has gone beyond just bikes and is developing new products from bamboo. The company’s products are in high demand in Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, USA and will this year go into the UK market. The story of Booomers is one unique story that shows how determination and discipline make a local company become a force to reckon with on the international market.



Ghanaian advances to semi-final of $7M Shell Ocean Discovery competition


A Ghanaian, Mark Amo-Boateng, has made it to the semi-finals of the $7 million Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, a three-year global competition challenging teams to advance ocean technologies for rapid, unmanned and high-resolution ocean exploration and discovery.

Dr. Amo-Boateng’s team is building intelligent low-cost modular AUV/ROV systems to democratize ocean discovery, using advanced artificial intelligence and algorithms to navigate and explore the ocean.

XPRIZE, the world’s leader in designing and managing incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges, today announced the 21 teams representing 13 countries advancing in the competition.

Their innovative approaches run the gamut: gliders and drones, underwater robotic swarms, autonomous underwater vehicles, robotics, artificial intelligence and massive computing platforms.

From a 25-country field, a panel of independent expert judges chose the semi-finalist teams who will move forward into the first round of testing. Semi-finalist team leads hail from Canada, China, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Launched in 2015, the Ocean Discovery XPRIZE features groups including university teams of undergraduate and graduate students, non-profits, startups and professional scientists and engineers.

“These semifinalist teams are on the cutting-edge, pushing the boundaries in developing deep-sea underwater technologies that will work in the lightless, cold depths to fully map one of our world’s final frontiers like never before,“ said Jyotika Virmani, Ph.D., prize lead and senior director with XPRIZE’s Energy and Environment Group, who today announced the semifinalists from the Catch the Next Wave conference in San Diego.

“Through the Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, we have an unprecedented opportunity to create next-generation tools, technologies and techniques that will illuminate deep-sea wonders and unlock a new era of ocean exploration. We look forward to seeing the teams’ innovative approaches come to life over the next 10 months.”

During Round 1, teams will deploy their entries to operate at a depth of 2,000 meters, aiming to map at least 20 percent of the 500 km2 competition area at five meters resolution, identifying and imaging at least five archeological, biological or geological features at any depth, all within 16 hours.

In other words, the competition technologies will aim to reach depths deeper than the Grand Canyon and map an area that is nearly five times the area of Paris.

The 21 teams advancing are:

ARGGONAUTS (Karlsruhe, Germany) – Led by Gunnar Brink, the team is creating a swarm of 12 intelligent deep-sea robot drones using insight gained through two previous projects.

BangaloreRobotics (Bangalore, India) – Led by Venkatesh Gurappa, the International team is developing innovative and low-cost Underwater Swarm AUVs.

Blue Devil Ocean Engineering – Duke University (Durham, NC, United States) – Led by Martin Brooke, the Duke University team is working with heavy lift aerial drones that drop retrievable diving SONAR pods.

CFIS (Arnex-sur-Nyon, Switzerland) – Led by Toby Jackson, the team is designing a swarm of underwater robots that use lasers for ocean floor mapping as well as imaging of interesting creatures and formations.

Eauligo (Nice, France) – Led by Christopher Lewis, the team is developing miniature micro subs that mimic bees and their behavior to map and explore the deep ocean.

ENVIRODRONE (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) – Led by Ryan Cant, the team is using aerial drones that launch next-gen AUVs.

Exocetus (Wallingford, CT, United States) – Led by Joe Turner, the team employs several low-cost underwater gliders equipped with side-scanning sonar to map for extended periods of time.

GEBCO-NF (New Zealand, Global) – Led by GEBCO-Nippon Foundation scholars, the  12 nation team is integrating existing technologies with a new unmanned surface vessel to contribute to comprehensive mapping of the entire ocean floor by 2030.

PISCES (Portugal) – Led by Nuno Cruz, the team is aggregating Portuguese technologies developed at INESC TEC (Porto) and CINTAL (Algarve) to create the PISCES system that leverages cooperative robotics.

KUROSHIO (Yokosuka, Japan) – Led by Takeshi Nakatani, the team is integrating technologies owned by Japanese universities, institutes and companies for a unique collaborative approach centered around AUVs.

Lehigh Tide (Bethlehem, PA, United States) – Led by Matthew Ciolino – The Lehigh University team is creating a cost-effective autonomous underwater vehicle that can accurately scan the ocean.

Ocean Quest (San Jose, CA, United States) – Led by Danny Kim, the team endeavors to design a marine STEM platform for students worldwide to enable project-based learning with new technology and techniques.

Oceanzus (Durham, NH, United States) – Led by James Case, the team is creating a continuous operating platform that supports multiple survey assets to realize the mapping goal.

OD-Africa (Accra, Ghana) – Led by Mark Amo-Boateng, the team is building intelligent low-cost modular AUV/ROV systems to democratize ocean discovery, using advanced artificial intelligence and algorithms to navigate and explore the ocean.

Orca Robotics (San Diego, CA, United States) – Led by Phillip Rhyner, the team is creating an underwater system that uses phase array radar and computing power to provide results in real-time, which is a new use for this approach.

SubUAS (Piscataway, NJ, United States) – Led by Rutgers professor Javier Diez, the team has created an AI-enabled drone that can fly quickly to remote survey locations, dive into the water and use a second set of propellers to navigate and intelligently explore underwater before flying home for data download, repowering and return flights.

Tampa Deep-Sea X-plorers (Tampa, FL, United States) – Led by Edward Larson, the team is using existing technology and side scanning sonar on multiple AUVs to fully cover the large mapping area.

Team Tao (Newcastle, United Kingdom) – Led by Dale Wakeham, the team is developing an autonomous swarm system for rapid surface to deep ocean exploration.

Texas A&M University Ocean Engineering (College Station, TX, United States) – Led by Dylan Blakeslee and working in partnership with successful alumni of Texas A&M; the University team is using drone ships and AUVs equipped with innovative navigation systems, renewable power generation and chemical sensing technologies to explore remote ocean habitats.

Virginia DEEP-X — Virginia Tech and Old Dominion University (Virginia, United States) – Led by Dan Stilwell, the team is developing small and low-cost underwater vehicles that operate in coordinated teams.

X994 (Austin, TX, United States) – Led by David Ryan, the team is working to optimize robotic mapping of the ocean through advancements in software, AI, and data analytics.

Up to 10 finalist teams will be selected to proceed past Round 1 and will split a $1M milestone prize purse.

In Round 2, they will need to operate their entries at a depth of 4,000 meters, aim to map at least 50 percent of the 500 km2 competition area at five meters resolution, identifying and imaging at least ten archeological, biological or geological features at any depth, all within 24 hours.

At the end of the competition, a $4M Grand Prize and $1M Second Place Prize will be awarded to the teams that receive the top scores for demonstrating the highest resolution seafloor mapping, after meeting all minimum requirements for speed, autonomy and depth.

As part of the total $7M prize purse, 12 teams will also be competing for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) $1M bonus prize and will need to demonstrate that their technology can “sniff out” a specified object in the ocean by tracing a biological and chemical signal to its source.

The Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE is pleased to announce a partnership with Fugro, an industry leader in ocean mapping, search and survey.

As the world’s foremost independent provider of geo-intelligence and asset integrity solutions, Fugro will utilize an autonomous underwater vehicle equipped with high-resolution multibeam echosounder technology to acquire the competition’s baseline bathymetry data that are needed in judging team mapping results.

The competition is also partnering with Esri, the global leader in geographic information system (GIS) software and geodatabase management.

Esri will donate its award-winning ArcGIS Online platform for the teams to use, enabling the Ocean Discovery XPRIZE competitors to submit their maps via Esri ArcGIS Online to ensure all participants are judged from a consistent technology platform.



Penplusbytes equips Nkroful citizens with accountability tools







Penplusbytes with support from Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) has inaugurated Community Monitoring Group to man the “Tech Driven Social Accountability for Results” project launched in Nkroful in the Western Region.

The nine-member group has representatives from gender focused groups, the district assembly, journalists and community groups.

The Tech Driven Social Accountability for Results project is aimed at using new digital tools to hold government accountable within the political and social frameworks.

The project, which is currently being implemented in the Ellembele District and the Ashaiman Municipal Assembly in the Greater Accra Region, seeks to use tech tools to engage in policy implementation and demand accountability through monitoring public service delivery.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Nana Kwesi Kutuah V, Chief of Nkroful, admonished the district assembly to ensure that national policies met the needs of citizens, especially those at the grassroots, to enable them have access to social intervention projects.

“A lot of people do not have any information about these social intervention projects and so are not able to demand what is due them and also hold duty-bearers to account on how these interventions are being implemented,” Nana Kutuah said.

He said the district was faced with a myriad of challenges with many households afflicted by poverty.

He said social interventions like the School Feeding Programme, Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) and the Labour Intensive Public Works (LIPW) under the Ghana Social Opportunities Project (GSOP) were helping to alleviate the peri-urban poverty being experienced by many citizens in the district.

Mr Kwami Ahiabenu II, Executive Director of Penplusbytes, said the Tech Driven Social Accountability project was a two-year project which was focusing on the implementation of national policies at the grassroots.

He said: “we are excited that we are able to enable citizen’s participation in policy implementation at the grassroots using digital tools by focusing on ensuring effective service delivery and government interventions yielding the right results to improve the lives of the populace.”

The event provided citizens the opportunity to ask questions and seek clarifications on how they could benefit from some of the social accountability projects.

Some of the nagging questions were on the eligibility to LEAP funds, access to tools provided under the LIPW and the extension of the school feeding programme to public schools in Nkroful and other towns in the Ellembelle District.

Over 400 community members from Aiyinase, Kangule, Essiama, Bazua, Menzezo, Bukazzo, Nkroful participated in the event.

Penplusbytes is a not-for-profit organisation driving change through innovations in three key areas: using new digital technologies to enable good governance and accountability, new media and innovations, and enhancing media oversight for effective utilisation of mining, oil and gas revenue and resources.

The OSIWA is active in 10 countries; Ghana, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.

It focuses on law, justice and human rights, economic and political governance and the development of open societies by supporting and building partnerships with local and regional groups that promote inclusive democratic governance.



Research into science/technology innovations doesn’t gather dust – CSIR










Dr Victor Agyeman, the Director General of the Council for Scientific and Industry Research (CSIR), has debunked the assertion that research into science and technology innovations are placed on shelves to gather dust.

Dr Agyeman said the CSIR had developed 165 technologies and all those technologies had been well packaged, profiled and documented.

“We have prepared marketable tools in the form of business plans on these science and technology innovations targeted at some entrepreneurs in the private sector,” he said.

Dr Agyeman made this known when Business Plans on 10 out of the 165 technologies was launched in Accra.

The 10 key technologies, he said, include Gas Cabinet Fruit Dryer, Feed Pellet for Grass Cutters, Biogas Technology, Solar Dry Technology, Improved “Akosombo Strain” of Nile Tilapia using cage culture, and Oil Palm Mushroom Production.

Others are Mechanised Palm Kernel Separator, and Innovative Rain Harvesting Water Technology.

However, Dr Agyeman said the “promotion, uptake and commercialisation of those developed technologies had not been encouraging” adding that “valuable information to unearth their business potential had mainly been confined to the research and academic circles”.

Dr Agyeman, therefore, challenged industries to take up risk by tapping into the potentials of science and technology to propel the rapid economic growth of the country.

He noted that apart from risk, high interest rates and inflation continued to remain a challenge to businesses.

According to Dr Agyeman, he was of the belief that business plans developed by the CSIR would serve as “window to unearth the business potential of the developed technologies to the private sector for the greater betterment of Ghana’s socio-economic development.”

Dr Agyeman said the CSIR, under the Ghana Skills and Technology Development Project, has, therefore, established a Technology, Development and Transfer Centre (TDTC) house by CSIR-STEPRI.

He said the CSIR-TDTC was aimed at bridging the gap between research and the private sector through an effective technology development and transfer system that could constantly engage private sector on their technology needs.

He cited Malaysia and Sri Lanka as some of the countries that had taken up research into palm and coconut respectively adding that those products were fetching high revenue.



Investment in Agriculture, Growth Mosaic shows the way


Can investors make money in Ghanaian agriculture? That’s the mission of Osu based Growth Mosaic.

Combining the functions of consultant, incubator, and Investment Banker, Growth Mosaic has spent the last seven years actively channeling investment dollars to leading Ghanaian based agriculture and technology startups.

Founded in 2008 by Canadian born Wayne Miranda, Growth Mosaic has grown from a one-person operation to an 18-person staff.

Having scoured all of Ghana for investment opportunities, Growth Mosaic is investigating opening additional offices in Nigeria and the Ivory Coast.

One example of the focus of Growth Mosaic is corn farming. In Ghana, farmers produce significantly less corn per hectare (2 metric tons) than farmers in the USA (10 metric tons) or Europe (8 metric tons).

To solve this, farmers began adding imported fertilizer to their fields.  However, the rains just washed away the fertilizer, and yields did not improve.

Enter Farmers Hope, a developer of organic fertilizer, based outside Kumasi.  With business and capital raising assistance from Growth Mosaic, Farmers Hope was able to produce a product that was much better suited to growing conditions in Ghana.
According to Acumen Fund, an investor in Farmers Hope, their fertilizer has been proven to produce 60 percent higher yields than regular chemical fertilizers.

Farmers Hope has sold more than 60,000 bags to 4,000 smallholder farmers across rural Ghana.

The company’s fertilizer is priced at 50% less than competing products making it affordable to most smallholder farmers.

Farmer’s Hope has impacted over 1,500 farmers with plans to reach 25,000 in the next five years.

Other Growth Mosaic investments include Maza, a rural ambulance service, Juaben Oil Mills, which produces sustainable palm oil, and Moringa Connect, a player in the emerging Moringa Oil business.

As a social-purpose business, Growth Mosaic does the hard work to prepare small and growing businesses to access and manage growth investment.

For U.S. or European investors, Growth Mosaic serves the important role of being local, and reducing the execution risks and improve the viability of our clients as investible opportunities. This enables Ghana based agribusinesses to attract growth investment as well as improves deal flow for investors.

As a for profit enterprise, Growth Mosaic has shown that with a lot of hard work and ingenuity, it is possible to help farmers become more successful without NGOs or charity, and still make a profit.



New study helps explain how garbage patches form in the world’s oceans

Density of finite-size objects after 1.5 years of evolution starting from a uniform distribution under the combined action of simulated ocean currents and reanalyzed winds.
Credit: Beron-Vera, Olascoaga and Lumpkin

A new study on how ocean currents transport floating marine debris is helping to explain how garbage patches form in the world’s oceans. Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and colleagues developed a mathematical model that simulates the motion of small spherical objects floating at the ocean surface.

The researchers feed the model data on currents and winds to simulate the movement of marine debris. The model’s results were then compared with data from satellite-tracked surface buoys from the NOAA Global Drifter Program’s database. Data from both anchored buoys and those that become unanchored, or undrogued, over time were used to see how each accumulated in the five ocean gyres over a roughly 20-year timeframe.

“We found that undrogued drifters accumulate in the centers of the gyres precisely where plastic debris accumulate to form the great garbage patches,” said Francisco Beron-Vera, a research associate professor in the UM Rosenstiel School’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences and lead author of the study. “While anchored drifters, which are designed to closely follow water motion, take a much longer time to accumulate in the center of the gyres.”

The study, which takes into account the combined effects of water and wind-induced drag on these objects, found that the accumulation of marine debris in the subtropical gyres is too fast to be due solely to the effect of trade winds that converge in these regions.

“We show that the size and weight of the drifters must be taken into account to fully explain the accumulation,” said Maria Josefina Olascoaga, an associate professor in the UM Rosenstiel School’s Department of Ocean Sciences and a co-author of the study.

The model could be used to track shipwrecks, airplane debris, sea ice and pollution among the many practical applications according to the researchers.


A Play-By-Play of Super Bowl LI’s Waste Diversion Efforts

super bowl

By:Mallory Szczepanski

Approximately 150 new recycling bins were placed throughout NRG Stadium, and about a dozen local agencies helped capture unserved, surplus food from the stadium.


Millions of sports fans (and entertainment fans) tuned in to watch Super Bowl LI yesterday, which concluded with the New England Patriots victory over the Atlanta Falcons in a first-ever Super Bowl overtime. And while those fans were busy munching on tasty snacks, drinking refreshing beverages, cheering on their team and catching up with friends and family, the NFL and the staff at NRG Stadium in Houston were working to divert as much waste from landfill as possible. 

In preparation for the big game, approximately 150 new recycling bins were placed throughout NRG Stadium, and about a dozen local agencies were recruited by the Houston Food Bank to help capture unserved, surplus food from the stadium.

Additionally, NRG Energy Inc. and its subsidiary Reliant partnered with the NFL to provide 100 percent Green-e certified renewable energy to NRG Stadium for a certain time period before, during and after the big game.

“As the official electricity company of NRG Stadium, we are proud to support the NFL and Houston by powering the largest U.S. sporting event with renewable energy certificates together with the onsite efficiency and renewable energy solutions,” said NRG Vice President of Sustainability Bruno Sarda in a statement. “At NRG, we want fans to benefit from sustainable solutions and together with the NFL, we can demonstrate that even a huge event like the Super Bowl can significantly reduce its energy usage.”

These sustainable efforts by NRG and its partners go hand-in-hand with its everyday goals to divert more material from landfill and to make its venues more sustainable.

In 2013, NRG reviewed the amount of materials it was currently recycling and developed new initiatives to help boost its recycling rate. NRG set a goal to recycle 15 percent of its waste in 2014, and it exceeded its expectations by achieving a recycling rate of 17 percent. NRG then set a goal to recycle 20 percent of its waste in 2015, but its recycling rate held steady at 17 percent that year.

NRG has a recycling and waste team and waste subject-matter experts who work with local and state governments and other industrial waste generators to ensure that waste generation and disposal concerns at all of its locations are understood and properly addressed. NRG also has a sourcing team that creates partnerships with waste management and recycling companies to ensure that waste and recycling materials end up in their proper destinations. 

Leading up to the big game, the NFL and the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee hosted a variety of environmental-themed events, including a public E-Waste Recycling Rally and the Super Kids – Super Sharing Sports Equipment and Book Donation Event.

At the e-waste recycling rally on January 21, local residents dropped off e-waste items like computers, printers, monitors, cell phones and televisions for safe and proper disposal. And at the Super Kids event on January 19, tens of thousands of books, school supplies, games and sports equipment were collected and donated to low-income schools and youth programs, and unused cell phones and accessories were collected and donated to U.S.-based domestic violence organizations.

Immediately after the Super Bowl, recovery of event materials began and will continue throughout the next week with a drive to collect and donate items left over from the Super Bowl, including building materials, decor, fabric, carpeting and signage. 



We need technology to bridge dev’t gap – Frimpong Boateng


By: Jonas Nyabor,

The minister-nominee for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, says Ghana’s development can be fast-tracked if it prioritizes the use of science and technology.

According to him, the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), must be reinforced in schools especially at the basic level to conscientize Ghanaians on the use of technology.

Professor Frimpong-Boateng noted that, the science and technology infrastructure in the country is “very very weak” and there is the need to increase efforts to bring it to the fore of the country’s development.

He said, “We have to start from the schools with STEM, the study of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and let the children know why certain things are done. I think we need to create a critical mass of scientists because the science and technology infrastructure in Ghana is currently very very weak.”

We’ll create innovation centres 
He said his administration will ensure the creation of innovation centres in all regions of the country to harness the potential of persons who have the talent to become scientists and great innovators.

“We have to find the money for it. I believe the finance people will understand it. Now we spend just about 0.25% of our GDP on research and development and we know that we have to push it up to at least 1% and at best 2.5%. So if we budget for it, we will get dividends,” he added.

“If we say we don’t have money for research and development, and technical things, then we will remain where we are. The difference between us and them [development countries] is technology. The poverty gap is a technology gap, so whatever we have to do to bridge that gap, we have to do it.”

According to Professor Frimpong-Boateng, having more scientists in the country will enable persons with innovative ideas actualize them.

He said production of the famed Kantanka brand of cars, by Apostle Kwadwo Safo in the country could be promoted if there are more scientists and innovators to manufacture various parts for the car.

On securing funding to boost local technology and innovation, Prof. Frimpong Boateng said the government must as a matter of urgency ensure funding is available for science and technology development in the country.

‘About Prof. Frimpong Boateng’
Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng is a trained physician and cardiothoracic surgeon who established the National Cardiothoracic Center and the Ghana Red Cross Society.

He is also the President of the Ghana Heart Foundation and was once the Chief Executive Officer of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra. In March 2006, he announced his intention to contest the New Patriotic Party presidential primaries for the December 2008 National Presidential Elections.

He however lost in his attempt against now President-elect, Nana Akuffo-Addo, who had subsequently lost the 2008 elections to the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC), John Evans Atta-Mills. Prof. Frimpong-Boateng is married with five children, and he’s very passionate about science and technology, which remains pivotal to any country’s development.