By Douglas Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Pblic Affairs
Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) recognized Earth Day on April 25 with the command acknowledged as the recipient of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Environmental Award for Fiscal Year 2016.
The Navy’s Earth Day theme for 2017 ‘Building Strength Through Stewardship’ provided a suitable backdrop for NHB which has continued to emphasize environmental initiatives.
The CNO Environmental Award honored exceptional achievements in environmental stewardship among nominated ships, installations, and individuals on an annual basis. NHB was recognized for the ‘Sustainability, Non-Industrial Installation’ category.
“NHB earned our CNO Environmental Award recognition because of one reason; the high quality of our people. Through a true team effort, led by our Facility Department and our Environmental Management Division, we have managed to improve our sustainability posture,” said Capt. David K. Weiss, Naval Hospital Bremerton Commanding Officer.
The sustainability program at NHB is managed by Facility Management Department’s Environmental Management Division, led by Robert Mitchell, Environmental Program Manager and Ramon Calantas, Environmental Protection Specialist, as well as assisted by all contributing staff members.
For the last several years NHB has managed programs to improve the overall sustainability posture by implementing such improvements as working with Stryker Corporation to recycle approximately 250 pounds in the last two fiscal years of various non-invasive medical devices.
NHB has also achieved sustainability savings of over $50,000 and approximately 2,000 pounds in overall waste diverted due to reprocessing and recycling with Stryker Corporation.
Additional notable efforts include the Laboratory’s Histology department recycling of alcohol and xylene; dental clinics amalgam filters and absorbent column to keep silver and mercury out of waste waters; Pharmacy ‘MedSafe’ disposal container for beneficiaries’ to return unused and expired pharmaceutical products and keep the medications out of landfills; and participation in the regional qualified recycling program by recycling plastics, aluminum cans, metals, paper and ink cartridges.
NHB’s commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability was not just limited to the command but included involvement in the surrounding community.
In conjunction with Earth Day, NHB Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Sailors participated in the 22nd annual Kitsap Water Festival on April 18 and at the 2017 West Sound STEM Showcase on April 22 – official date for Earth Day this year – at the Kitsap Mall.
The STEM team showcased an exhibit called aquaponics at both events and proved to be a hit with the young students. The Kitsap Water Festival centered on the importance of water, with specific focus on water-habitat, water-conservation and water-environmental stewardship.
Aquaponics is a soilless agricultural method that uses the nitrogenous waste produced by sea life and then broken down by bacteria to fertilize water grown crops. The name itself is a combination of aquaculture – raising fish – and hydroponics – raising plants without soil.
We showed the students our aquaponics system where we can use waste directly from fish to fertilize plants. I think the exhibit was very well received. We had literally hundreds of children and adults come by to see it. We showed the students that you can raise vegetables and fish together,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Nicholas Behel, Biomedical Equipment Technician.
New ways, new thinking, and new methods for environmental stewardship continue at NHB. Even if it’s just one drop at a time, it all adds up as recently installed bottle fillers in 14 drinking fountains are reaping ecofriendly benefits. Just one is averaging dispensing the equivalent of 192 bottles of water in one work week, thus theoretically keeping that many plastic containers out of recycle bins, trash cans and landfills.