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Electric vehicles unveiled for health teams

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Commitment to reducing emissions: three of the new electric vehicles for the Bermuda Post Office and Bermuda’s nurses (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

District nurses have received five electric vehicles to help them get to appointments in patients’ homes.

The vehicles, unveiled this week at the Hamilton Health Centre on Victoria Street, are part of a wider government effort to help ministries cut down on carbon emissions.

They will also be used by environmental health officers who travel across the island to carry out inspections and investigations, and manage disease-carrying pests, among other work.

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said that the use of electric vehicles went hand-in-hand with the ministry’s role in safeguarding the public’s wellbeing.

She added: “Bermuda’s district nurses and our environmental health officers are an essential part to our healthcare system.

“Adopting electric vehicles will further enhance their ability to deliver high-quality care while supporting our environment.”

Committed to reducing emissions: Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, helps unveil new electric vehicles for the Bermuda Post Office and Bermuda’s nurses (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The additions to the government’s fleet is part of the zero-emissions vehicle strategy to phase out combustion engine vehicles.

The policy — EVolve Bermuda — proposed to phase out importation of privately and commercially owned internal combustion engine vehicles to Bermuda.

It said the suggested phase-out dates for ICE vehicles included 2035 for cars and 2040 for heavy trucks.

Ms Wilson said that her ministry will replace combustion engine vehicles with electric vehicles as the former aged out over time.

She said that the lower fuel and maintenance costs of electric vehicles would allow the health ministry to use the money saved in boosting healthcare.

Ms Wilson added that the reduced emissions and improved air quality could better the public’s health, particularly for people with respiratory problems.

She explained: “Research indicates that reducing exposure to tail pipe emissions, such as soot and particulate matter can lower the risk of mortality, heart attacks and hospital admissions due to heart disease and cancers.

“Our commitment to reducing vehicular emissions aligns with global, environmental and public health goals, and our entire community will be the beneficiaries from these new electric vehicles as Bermuda advances on its path to becoming a zero-emissions transportation leader here in our region of the Caribbean.”

Going for a spin: Kim Wilson, Minister of Health, helps unveil new electric vehicles for the Bermuda Post Office and Bermuda’s nurses (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Lynn Jackson, the Chief Nursing Officer, said that she was pleased to contribute to the health of her team as well as the wider environment.

She said: “As nurses, our role and close ties to the community position us as a trusted voice in the face of climate change.

“Using the electric vehicles allows us to contribute to lowering some of those greenhouse gas emissions.

“It will also present us as nurses and health workers an opportunity to create positive change by leading by example.”

Ms Jackson said that climate change impacted human health in several direct and indirect ways including through poor air quality and noise pollution.

She added that the move towards greener vehicles fell in line with nurses’ roles of “preventing disease and promoting health and wellbeing”.

Vance Campbell, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, said that the Government must “lead by example” in the zero-emissions initiative by altering its fleet of vehicles.

He added that the Bermuda Post Office had also made moves towards a fleet of electric vehicles with the introduction of two electric cycles.

Mr Campbell explained that the post office had the largest motorcycle fleet in the Government at 50 cycles to assist its delivery staff.

He added that, because the vehicles all contributed to greenhouse gas emissions, the post office was a “prime candidate” for switching to electric vehicles.

Mr Campbell said that more vehicles will be purchased after a six-month pilot programme to get users familiar with the motorcycles.

Mr Campbell said: “We look forward to getting acclimated to these new vehicles and ensuring a cleaner, greener way to deliver mail.”

UPDATE: this article has been updated to clarify information about the Government’s zero-emission vehicle policy

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Published May 31, 2024 at 7:54 am (Updated May 31, 2024 at 7:54 am)

Electric vehicles unveiled for health teams

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