Grafenwoehr 'walking the walk' on environmental issues
July 17, 2008
GRAFENWOHER, Germany - The use of electric cars and a decrease in petroleum, oil and lubricant spills marked two major improvements by the U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr Environmental Management System as it concluded its annual cycle.
The EMS also found improvements in the garrison's willingness to use environmentally friendly products and increased cooperation among organizations to improve environmental performance.
The garrison made a further commitment to environmental protection last month when a command policy letter vowed to prevent pollution and minimize resource use; improve environmental performance; meet all environmental laws and regulations, and increase environmental awareness.
This commitment confirms the garrison's goal to provide for future generations.
Established in 2004, EMS allows the garrison to systematically monitor and advance its environmental procedures.
"An Environmental Management System is a management tool," said Tom Hays, USAG Grafenwoehr director of public works. "It is used to continually improve environmental performance throughout the garrison."
The basis of the management system, he explained, is an international standard called ISO 14001.
"This standard is well known and accepted by companies and organizations all over the world," Hays said. "Conformance to the ISO 14001 demonstrates that a company or organization is willing to do its best to improve environmental protection throughout the company or organization, in our case the garrison."
However, Hays said it is also up to community members to make the program a success.
"Since the garrison consists of individuals, everybody has to do his or her share, either on the job or at home," said Hays. He suggested that people can do simple things to help out, such as:
*properly recycle trash;
*use energy saving electrical devices;
*do not wash cars in the yard;
*perform oil changes at authorized locations;
*turn off the lights when not in use;
*turn back the radiator;
*do not use air conditioning when you can do without it.