Let's Learn! about Eco
1. Let's Learn about Global Warming
Have you all heard the words "global warming"? Global warming refers to the increase of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air leading to the average temperature of the whole earth gradually rising. Carbon dioxide originally existed on the earth, but the amount is increasing more rapidly than before with the increase and activity of people. There are several causes of this increase of carbon dioxide.
- The amount of carbon dioxide is increasing due to the large amounts of oil, coal and natural gas being burned to make electricity and move our vehicles.
- It is the nature of forests to absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, but the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by forests is decreasing because of deforestation.
Why Is Carbon Dioxide Causing Global Warming?
There are layers of air around the earth, and sunlight from the sun passes through these layers of air and warm the earth's ground. Much of the heat released from the warmed ground is released into space. Also, some of this heat is absorbed by what is called "greenhouse gases" that are in these air layers, like carbon dioxide, which warm the air. However, if the amount of carbon dioxide increases too much, the amount of heat absorbed also increases, keeping the heat on the earth. This is said to be the cause of global warming.
What Will Happen If Global Warming Progresses?
What kinds of changes will global warming bring to our lives? As an example, the sea level will rise because Arctic and Antarctic ice melting. This may result in many creatures losing their places to live in and cities that we live in sinking into the sea.
Also, the lack of rain and the intense heat brought about by global warming, and abnormal weather events, etc. may cause plants and animals to be unable to survive. And if we are not able to grow fruit and vegetables in fields, humans will also not be able to survive. Then, let's consider what we can do to prevent rapid global warming in the future.
Use of Renewable Energy
"Natural energy" has been gaining attention these days as a replacement for the electric power generated by burning oil, coal and natural gas. We can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions by incorporating energy that uses the power of nature, such as "solar power generation" using the sunlight and "wind power generation" using the power of the wind. These natural forces can be used over and over again and are referred to as "renewable energy".
As an example, in Europe, Olympus uses mainly power generated by wind power, with 90% of the electricity used in the company and factories covered by "renewable energy". Japan is another country that is working on efforts to increase renewable energy use. So at Olympus' factories in Japan, we are also doing our best to actively use solar power as much as possible.
Olympus Products Used in the Inspection of Wind Power Generators
Inspections are carried out on wind power generators when they are manufactured and after they are installed, to make sure that they can be used safely. Olympus industrial endoscopes and ultrasonic flaw detectors are used in such inspections, ensuring stable power supply from wind power generators.
- ① Industrial Endoscopes: Used to check if there are defects and cracks in the gearbox that is the part of the generator which receives and enhances power obtained by the rotating wind turbine and sends it to the generator.
- ②③ Ultrasonic Flaw Detectors: Used to check if there are defects and corrosion in the wind turbine blades and tower that supports the wind turbine.
2. Let's Learn about the 3Rs
We live surrounded by many things. Many of these things enrich our lives, but in order to make them, we use earth resources such as metal, oil and wood, etc. Because resources are limited, if everyone just uses and throws things away, the materials will be gone, and we will not be able to make anything else. Also, as the trash increases, we won't have anywhere left to put it, and the day may come when our cities overflow with trash. If that happens, life will no longer be convenient.
Therefore, we need to do something to value our limited resources, and that is 3R. To value our resources, it is important to
Reduce trash so as not to waste resources (Reduce)
Use products repeatedly (Reuse)
Use products again as a resource (Recycle)
The "Rs" at the head of these three words give us the 3Rs.
Olympus 3R Initiatives
Olympus has also engaged in a variety of initiatives with the desire of saving our limited resources for the future.
(1)Reducing resource use and waste = Examples of Reducing
- Reducing the amount of material used by using innovation to downsize products.
- Product packaging has been innovated to reduce the amount of paper and cardboard used.
- Manuals for some products have been converted from paper to digital.
(2)Using repeatedly = Examples of Reusing
- Boxes that can be reused repeatedly are used for transport of products.
- Some products are well cleaned and used again.
(3)Using again as a resource = Examples of Recycling
- Waste is finely separated. Particularly in factories that manufacture products in Japan, about 90% of waste such as metals, plastics, etc. is recycled.
- Food waste at the staff cafeteria is processed into fertilizer as a measure for recycling.
Olympus Products Used at Recycling Sites
The Olympus X-ray analyzer can be used to analyze the amount and types of metals, etc. contained in waste to check whether the material can be recycled. It can also be used to investigate metals which are harmful to the human body or to the environment.
We should keep in mind our commitment to being eco-friendly in everyday life. It may only be small things for each of us, but if we all work together, great things can be accomplished. Olympus will continue our eco-friendly efforts.