Monday, March 28, 2011

Week THREE: Getting along

Third week came to an end! Feels like I am bit old here already 

Things are getting more on routine- nevertheless enjoyment is there!
And, I actually had a trip to Bohol this weekend with my office-mate, Chee-Anne. Bohol is probably of the most beautiful places- so being there was a great time out.

Down to Work-

• This week also, I was more involved in Data encoding.
This time around, I was dealing with the data obtained from the Reflectometer to provide a measurement for the calculation of the elemental carbon content of the aerosols deposited on the Nucleopore polycarbonate filters during the sampling period. I was using Black Carbon Log book to update on the work sheet.
After that, I worked on some formatting. It was basically to make an input file for the PMF (Positive Matrix Factorization) and XRF analysis
• On the 24th, I visited one of the sampling sites- Valenzuela. It was my visit to learn the activities like: changing the filters, making readings
At first, we need to take reading of the Meter, Flow Meter (Rotameter) and Vacuum gauge, which are all part in the Gent Sampler. This will act as the final reading for the filter placed in the sampling site the earlier time (Final reading of the exposed filter). The sampling is done on Sunday and Wednesday. This is to maintain uniformity among the RCA/IAEA. So, for this reason, the filters are changed every Mondays and Thursdays by PNRI:
Then, the exposed filter cassette is removed from the Sampling head and a cassette with new one is fitted there. Sampling head is usually few m (6 meters) away from the Gent Sampler.
After the unexposed filter is fitted to the sampling head, the initial reading for this pair of filter is made by taking note of Meter reading Flow meter reading and Vacuum gauge. Later the week, before changing this pair of exposed filter, final reading for the above mentioned parameters are taken in the same way as for the initial one.

Have a look at few pics from Valenzuela site

Monday, March 21, 2011

Week TWO: I’m loving it!

Another appealing week to my count!

The second week was more like recalling my past memories of school. I still remember during the school days, we used to wait for the bell ring of the lunch time to just get into play; similar kind of feeling arose here. Every lunch time, a group of people are gathered at the table-tennis court room, of course to play. I am joining them and doing a bit of practice and playing. It’s really fun! Usually it is a group of 7 to 9. I am playing table tennis after long. I was into it, when I was very young around 9 or 10. I used to play with my uncles and friends back at home in a nearby park-

Another thing that I discovered this week was that they also play volleyball. Yeahh!! It sounds so exciting. We used to play in college and our batch mates and seniors used to make us practice and prepare for the matches. I just miss them a lot, those times! After playing volleyball in college, I think I played it in Hat-Yai during the HOME STAY part of our Prep Course. It was fun to play with FK frens and with the mothers of our Host Family then, but this time I was with a new team- but with as much excitement as it always brings. Oh ya, I also had a good time with the volleyball with few Sri Lankan friends.
What I like the most is they get time after work to get involved in these activities. And I’m really loving it

Down to Work:
For this week, my task was on Data Processing. The samples are analyzed using EDX X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer. I worked on the data generated from the XRF which used Ca, Ge and Zr as Secondary targets. I was involved in doing Spectrum fitting using AXIL (Analysis of X-ray spectra by Iterative Least Squares fitting), a subprogram in QXAS (Quantitative X-ray Analysis System developed by International Atomic Energy Agency and Quantitative Analysis of Environmental Samples (QAES) program.

Benj Roa, my counterpart who is posted in Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong came to PNRI to discuss on the Air Quality research scheduled few months later in the Philippines and find out potential scope for partnership for the research.

On the 15th March, I attended a Stakeholders Consultation on Metro Manila Traffic and Transport organized by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). It was a good opportunity for me to learn about their transport challenges and afterwards proposed priority action from the stakeholders.

Leaving you with few pictures from the Metro Manila Traffic and Transport Consultation :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Week 1: Getting into NEW team

Week ONE: Getting into a NEW Team

As you have known that I was keen in joining in my new assignment, Finally, I joined on March 7, 2011 Monday! Here is how I went through the first week in PNRI.

The very first day was about the orientation. I had had two orientations on the same day, the first one by Mr. Michael Hernandez, from Human Resources Management and Record and Communication Unit. To be honest, I was not expecting a detail presentation but he proved me wrong. He gave me a details presentation about the organization starting from history, its mandate, vision, mission, organizational function and all- you can say. I had gone through some information from the website but it was a very useful time for me, knowing more about the organization I am going to be affiliated for a couple of months. I have to know and fit into feet into the new shoe. Also, more relevant for me was the details on the OJT- what they call in short for On the Job Training Program. And, my affiliation is of this kind. Of course, the rules and regulations explained later were good to know. Then I knew about the office hours (7a-5:30p). I was thinking why so long?? But that was not applicable to me. I had to report to my assignment so my supervisor would be the one directing me about my reporting time. I am given a time sheet for DTR (daily time record)- and I have to get it signed from the guard in duty every time I enter and exit the office!! Yess…

In the office, they have dress color code> I immediately asked with Mr. Michael if I need to follow, well that is for staffs, not an obligation for me. But then I thought I can try to follow the thing they are doing-after all I am a part in there! So I checked the color for each day-

Monday- white> Tuesday- yellow> Wednesday-Purple> Thursday- Green and for Friday-Free..for color!!

After the first orientation, we went out for a’s got to be Sea Food Island! Yup- my first impression- I liked the waiters in “Pirates” look..hehe ;)

I liked the way the food was served! Big big tray or plate- food in the middle in the banana leaf..and everybody can serve to their side! Ma Sarap..talaga!! (Eng translàtion- really very delicious)

Shortly back after lunch, I had another orientation by Ms. Sony Pabroa. It was basically to introduce with the division and unit I am affiliated and to also with the team working there. I am in the Nuclear Analytical Techniques Application (NATA), Nuclear Services Division. This unit not only works for AIR which I am into but also work in the Water and Food sectors. Details on the presentation included more on AIR for me ! to have a better idea on what they are doing, and also the science and techniques behind that.


I started off with some of the work as well:

1. Filter Preparation:
~I learned how to assemble filter in SFU, how and where to place it and pre-requisites of this.
~The filters should be kept in room temperature for about 24 hours.
~Coarse filter is placed on the upper part while the fine filter in the inner part, while placing the filter- the shiny part of the filter should be placed upward(outwards).

2. Calibrating Microbalance
~Microbalance is used to weigh the filter- to get initial weight of the filter and weight of the exposed filter.
~Before using this, micro balance should be warm up for about 30 minutes i.e., keep it on for 30 minutes before weighing.

3. Weighing of filter paper
~Then the weight of the balance both for 50 micro gram and 10 micro gram is calibrated!
~Finally the weight of filter is taken

So, week one went well with the new exciting team.

P>S> Photos to be uploaded soon!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Being at NGO Booth Fair

This was the first time, we represented CAI- Asia in any event after our arrival in Manila-->> in the Ateneo ESS NGO week,
The NGO Booth Fair was organized by the Ateneo Environmental Science Society (ESS). This was one of the projects under ESS Week,held from November 15-19, 2010 inside Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU). The Fair was aimed to spread the advocacy and activism of various NGOs on environmental issues. But we did take part only on the 17th and 18th November to share more on our initiatives.

Most of the visitors to our booth were the students including few faculty members. We did an individual briefing to all of them letting them know our initiatives from the Center in Air Quality Management, our Country Networks over Asia for Better Air Quality and Livable Cities. It was also useful as we had had our publications and the Year Calendar (which feature different aspects of air pollution and air quality management in Asia). Some of them were so interested that took a copy of the publications for their reference. Diverse group of students were merging their interest to a common theme on our desk and that for Air Quality Management!!

It was not only a giving side- meaning, we did not only tell about what we are doing in the region and how they can be a part but also, we got to know their own initiatives in the school and/or as a group. During these two days, I met with many enthusiastic youths. They were also actively involved in environmental conservation from Turtle Conservation Campaign to the Awareness raising initiatives.

I still remember the lines in the tee-shirt of the students, which read:
"GREEN MINDED, BLUE BLOODED", which in a way summarizes the event at once!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

For Clean Air and Blue Skies: year 3

The third phase of the FK Exchange Program: Clean Air and Blue Skies Asia is in progress. Past two years have produced quality works and outputs from the previous batch of participants together with the partners. With added enthusiasm to achieve the goals of the project, 7 participants from the region are all headed to GO: For Clean Air and Blue Skies Asia

Let's have a look at these young professionals who are working in their respective host organizations & all geared UP for their tasks ahead!!

1. Muhammad Agung aka Agung (From KPBB-Indonesia, now at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, HongKong)

2. Amita Thapa Magar aka Amita (From Clean Air Network Nepal, Nepal- now based at CAI-Asia, Philippines)

3. Benjamin Roa aka Benj (From CAI- Asia, Philippines, now at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, HongKong along with Agung

4. Nguyen Ngoc Hung aka Hung (From Central Environment Monitoring (CEM)/VCAP Vietnam, now based at CAI-Asia, Philippines)

5. Prashanta Khanal aka Prashant (From Clean Air Network Nepal, Nepal- now at KPBB, Indonesia)

6. Priyantha Manamendra aka Maname (From Clean Air SL, now based in Hanoi, Vietnam)

7. Sean Ho Man Lee aka Sean (From HongKong, now based at CleanAirSL, Srilanka)

Photo Design: Ms. PakiaLaxmi Maniam (She is also one of the FK Participants from Malaysia who is based in the Philippines)

(*All the photos were taken during FK Preparatory Course*)

#FK Prep course was a 3-week long course held in Hat-Yai, Bangkok from (Oct 1- Oct 20, 2010).
This course aims to help the participants be well prepared before heading off to their respective host organizations/ countries for 10 months.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Valuable experiences sharing during Manila posting period

In 2009, I spent more than two-third time on working air quality management related tasks in Manila. I participated in reviewing the clean air policies in world mega events, analyzing air quality management structure in different Asian countries and air quality monitoring system in the Philippines and its air quality status. Through participating in the tasks, I was able to learn what challenges of implementing air quality management in Asian countries and what the effective and efficient strategies in improving the air quality in mega events. This knowledge and experience can certainly benefit for my future works.

Besides works, I had a great time in Manila through visiting the provinces and enjoying the Filipino cultures with my friends. I adventured the wonderful places in few small islands (Bohol in Cebu, Borocay in Aklan and Coron in Palawan). It is hard to describe all things in words. One of the ways to express my feelings is to describe the things I like most during the posting period. The movie below summarizes my tasks I participated in and activities in my spare time.

The most unforgettable activity is snorkeling with beautiful corals and colorful tropical fishes. The colorful fishes just swam around me. I were able to touch closely the coral and fishes and appreciated the grand ocean. I got the message from them “Human needs to save the nature and the earth from now on”.

The delicious food I like most is roast chicken. The chicken is very juicy with the secret gravy. I ate the roast chicken at least once a week.

The best daily exercise to keep fit is fetching around 25L volume of water from the basement to my unit. I kept doing it almost 3 weeks due to the water supply problem in the residential building.

I was amazed at the destructive power of a strong typhoon – Kestana. This typhoon brought huge amount of water. The rainfall on that day was higher than the monthly normal in the Port Area. It caused flooding, landfall, energy supply problem, lack of communication, death, infrastructure damages. This impact raises our concerns on climate change.

One memorable activity is every Friday night dinner. I went out with two colleagues almost every Friday to taste various kinds of food and share the challenges and happiness among each other.

Some participants may ask whether I encountered culture shock. Certainly, I did but it took 1-2 weeks to adjust myself to integrate in the society, adopt the local foods and make friend with the colleagues. My motto in overcoming the culture shocks is “Adjust new challenges and Act positive”. When I stayed in Manila during the first month, I tried a lot of new things and adjusted myself to adopt new environment. Keep doing it and you will have a company with colleagues, security guards and sales clerks.

Finally, I would like to thank Fredskorpset sponsored this exchange program and CAI-Asia center facilitated the program to provide an opportunity young professionals to gain and share the experiences. From the participant point of view, the first phase of this program was successful and benefit for me so much because I not only gained the knowledge by participating the projects, but also observed and learned from real life.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Clean Air Month Activities - The Philippines

The Philippines celebrates Clean Air Month as part of the ongoing Clean Air 10 Celebrations, which was hold in June. More than 10 activities have been organized in October and November 2009 to celebrate the 10
th Anniversary of Clean Air Act, which was signed into law on June 23, 1999, The aim of these activities is to emphasize the successful clean air actions taken in specific cities and to generalize some actions for governmental agencies, stakeholders and educational institutions to follow in the coming years.

A series of workshops and events are planned on air quality management and sustainable transport together with Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Transport and Communication (DOTC), and key international partners including Asian Development Bank, Asian Clean Fuels Association (ACFA), German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), and the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles of the UN (PCFV).

During my positing period, I attended some of these events, namely Philippines National Workshop: Clean Air for Smaller Cities in the ASEAN Region Project, Forum on Greening the Transport Sector, National Workshop on Clean Fuels and Vehicles, Rondtable on Biofuels: Trends and Updates, Roundtable Forum on Clean Air 10 Celebrations. Through participating these activities, I was able to realize the difficulties of implementing the air quality management in the Philippine and the successful stories in improving air quality for the past 10 years. A brief description of each activity is listed as below. For further information about the clean air month activities, please visit

The first event was a workshop “Clean Air for Smaller Cities in the ASEAN Region Project Philippines National Workshop” on October 22, 2009 in The A. Venue Hotel Suites, Manila. The aims of this workshop are to share the western countries experiences in clean air projects and provide a platform for small cities to express their difficulties and needs in implementing clean air projects. On that day, more than 30 Philippine local government units participated in the workshop and two of them (Iloilo city and Cagayan de Oro City) shared their existing clean air programs to other cities. In addition, some experts from GTZ shared some successful clean air stories and addressed the elements of clean air plan to the Philippine government agencies.

On November 12, more than 200 audiences from LGUs, city planners, government officials, transport sector, private sector and academe and civil society attended a forum named “Forum Greening the Transport Sector” in Heritage Hotel, Manila. This forum is organized by DOTC and DENR, together with CAI-Asia, UNCRD, PCA, LCP, IGES, and UP-NCTS. On that day, the National Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST) Strategy and Action Plan of the Philippines to various stakeholders was presented and discussed. This EST strategy and action plan contribute towards mainstreaming such policies and contribute to our country’s efforts to achieve better urban transport systems that contribute to reducing air pollution, emissions of CO2, and dependence on fossil fuel. The additional information can be found at

National Workshop on Clean Fuels and Vehicles was held on November 16 in Astoria Plaza Hotel, Manila. Around 100 participants attended the workshop. The objective of the workshop is to develop an action plan for cleaner fuels and vehicles in the Philippines with the aim of adopting Euro IV standards or specific parameters of Euro IV standards. Department of Energy of Philippines presented the overview of Philippine Fuel quality standard and Pollution Control Department of Thailand shared the experience in moving towards cleaner fuels and vehicles, followed by Hart Energy described the refinery capacity and supply in Asia of Euro IV or low-sulfur fuels and Philipinas Shell pointed out the impacts on refineries based on the relationship between fuel quality and vehicle emissions and moving to cleaner fuels. The additional information can be found at

A roundtable on biofuels was held just a day after the National Workshop on Clean Fuels and Vehicles in Astoria Plaza Hotel, Manila. The objective is to provide Philippine stakeholders with updates on (a) the Philippine biofuels initiatives and (b) global and regional updates on biofuel use and how other countries are addressing vehicle performance and maintenance issues related to biofuel use. The key speakers included Department of Energy (DOE) and Asian Clean Fuels Association (ACFA). The overview of Philippine Biofuel situation and its initiatives was presented and the update on biofuel use and proposed solutions to address related vehicle performance and maintenance issues was also addressed.

Roundtable Forum on Clean Air 10 Celebrations, organized by DENR, PCA, ECAP, CAI-Asia and DILG, was held on November 18 in Sulo Hotel, Manila. More than hundred participants attended this forum. During this forum, I was able to learn the stories of “model cases” on how the various sectors of the Philippines achieved some modest gains in working for clean air. In addition, this forum presented the process with visions on what they want to achieve together in the next years and provided discussion spaces on how they could get there, through the COMMITMENT TO ACTION of the various sectors – working together to achieve their end goal of ensuring a healthy and sustainable environment for all.