EANET and NIER’s Technical and Training Capacity Building Program in 2023
13 November 2023 – Bangkok, Thailand
The Technical and Training (TNT) program of the National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER), Republic of Korea, and the EANET Capacity Building Program have joined forces in 2023 to provide training on acid deposition and air quality management in the EANET Participating Countries.
Since 2002, the EANET has trained over 200 government officials and researchers, on acid deposition and air quality management through its individual training and capacity-building activities conducted mainly at the Asia Center for Air Pollution Research (ACAP) in Niigata, Japan, which hosts the Network Center for the EANET.
The National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER), part of the Ministry of Environment in the Republic of Korea, was established in 1978. It serves as the country’s primary research institution for various environmental aspects. NIER is based in Incheon and operates 12 air quality monitoring stations and 4 river research centers. The institute conducts extensive research and policy development on environmental health, climate, air quality, water resources, and energy, and collaborates on international projects aimed at global environmental protection.
The combined TNT and EANET Capacity Building Program in 2023 has been approved at the Twenty-fourth Session of the Intergovernmental Meeting (IG24) on the EANET, as a Project Activity, co-funded by the EANET Project Fund and the Republic of Korea.
NIER’s TNT and EANET’s Capacity Building Program in 2023
In 2023, the Program was organized in two sessions. Each session was divided into two parts happening alternatively in the Republic of Korea and in Japan. Eight government officials and researchers (four per session) from the EANET Participating Countries were selected to participate in the training, based on their submitted applications that indicate their professional backgrounds, technical implications in monitoring activities, and motivation.
Session 1 took place in Japan from 14 to 20 May 2023, and in the Republic of Korea, from 20 May to 2 June 2023.
During the training in Japan, participants visited the National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan, in Tsukuba City, where they received briefings and tours of the Earth Area Study and regional study laboratories. While at the Asia Center for Air Pollution Research (ACAP), in Niigata, participants attended lectures covering various atmospheric environmental issues. The training program included lectures on various topics, such as the ecological impacts of atmospheric deposition and air pollution in Europe, the USA, and Asia. It also covered methods for monitoring soil, vegetation, inland aquatic environments, and catchment areas. Furthermore, the program included lectures on quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) activities in EANET, data reporting procedures, an inter-laboratory comparison project, the analysis of EANET monitoring data (Periodic Report on the State of Acid Deposition in East Asia), and an introduction to emission inventory and air quality modeling. Finally, participants also visited the EANET Niigata-Maki monitoring site.
In the Republic of Korea, participants received the training in the NIER premises, in Incheon, where lectures were delivered by senior researchers from NIER’s Climate and Air Quality Research Department. These experts provided insights into their main responsibilities, ongoing projects, and the specialized tools and instruments used in their divisions. Additionally, the trainees had the opportunity to visit the Atmospheric Environment and Climate Change Laboratory at Seoul National University (SNU) and Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST). During these visits, they attended lectures conducted by professors from the Graduate School of Public Health, SNU, focusing on international projects like CASA, which is a clean air initiative for ASEAN member states. The trainees also explored NIER’s Jeju monitoring station and the National Air Emission Inventory and Research Center under the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea. At these locations, they received presentations on the Republic of Korea’s policies and strategies for managing air pollution, emphasizing comprehensive monitoring, analysis, and forecasting of air pollutant sources.
The Second session started in Incheon, Republic of Korea, from 10 to 24 September 2023 and in Niigata, Japan, from 24 to 30 September 2023.
In the Republic of Korea, the program included visits to key organizations under the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea, including the National Air Emission Inventory and Research Center and the Jeju Island Air Quality Monitoring Center. Participants also visited University laboratories actively involved in air pollution research. To address trainees’ requests for hands-on experience, the 1st program was arranged by the Atmospheric Environment and Climate Change (AECC) Lab at Seoul National University’s Graduate School of Public Health, which has been collaborating with NIER on Korea-China joint research since 2017. During this session, trainees conducted pretreatment and analysis of air pollutant sources, collected samples, and analyzed monitoring results using analytical instruments. They also explored UNIST’s facilities for monitoring and analyzing air pollutant sources and learned about various international projects related to air pollution research in the East Asia Region. The National Air Emission Inventory and Research Center provided insights into forecasting air pollutant movement and related policies, while the Jeju Island Air Quality Monitoring Center introduced its monitoring and analysis instruments and cooperative efforts with other NIER monitoring centers across the country, as well as the Korea Meteorological Administration, to improve the accuracy of forecasting the concentration of particulate matter.
Session 2 at ACAP was designed to offer hands-on training in wet and dry deposition monitoring. The aim of the training was to enhance participants’ expertise and skills in atmospheric deposition, specifically focusing on the filter pack method and ion chromatography. The laboratory sessions included various technical exercises covering topics such as pH and electrical conductivity measurements, filter pack sampling, and the standard operating procedures for inorganic ions analysis. The exercises were complemented by practical demonstrations of laboratory techniques.
Additionally, the training program featured a site visit to the Niigata–Maki Station. During this visit, participants had the opportunity to observe wet-only samplers (both weekly and daily), the filter pack system, automatic monitors for SO2, NOx, O3, PM2.5, and PM2.5 components, as well as meteorology monitors. This visit familiarized participants with the field equipment used in air quality monitoring.
The feedback survey indicated that all 8 participants found the program to be valuable and it is anticipated that the experience and knowledge gained from the program will be shared with their colleagues in their respective countries, further enhancing expertise in air quality management in the EANET Participating Countries.
The combined TNT and EANET Capacity Building Program in 2023 has been co-funded by the EANET Project Fund and the Republic of Korea. Find out more about EANET’s Project Fund and Project Activities.
View the photos of the training on Flickr.
Photo credits: all rights reserved to EANET.