EANET Experts discuss monitoring and management issues for VOC: Insights from the Manila Advisory Group Meeting

13 July 2023 – Bangkok, Thailand

The EANET Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Project Advisory Group Meeting was held in Manila from 24-26 May 2023 including laboratory and VOC monitoring site surveys, resulting in finalizing activities in the Philippines and Mongolia and other recommendations for the VOC project’s progress.


The VOC Project Advisory Group Meeting

The Network Center for the EANET, organized the EANET VOC Advisory Group Meeting in Manila, Philippines, as part of the EANET « Project for the feasibility for promotion of VOCs related capacity building in EANET » Project Activity in 2023.

The first meeting for the project took place in February 2023. As part of this project, it was decided to create an Advisory Group, composed of experts from Japan, the Republic of Korea, China, Thailand, and from the Network Center, to give guidance on feasible measurement methods, data analysis, identification of the target species to measure VOCs, and feasible reduction measures. During the meeting, the Advisory Group members considered methods like DOAS (Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy), canister sampling, sorbent tubes, and passive samplers. They emphasized the importance of source identification and reducing toxic VOCs, and discussed the use of low-cost sensors.


Participants to the EANET VOC Advisory Group Meeting with the representatives of the Government of the Philippines (EMB-DENR)


Lab Survey, VOC Monitoring Site Visit, and Stakeholder Workshop

A laboratory survey was conducted at the Environmental Research and Laboratory Services Division (ERLSD), Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), and the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology (IESM), College of Science, University of the Philippines. On the following day, the mission continued with a VOC monitoring site survey at the Region III Air Quality Management Section (AQMS) in Pampanga. This survey aimed to assess the monitoring of volatile organic compounds in that specific area. The next morning, a summary discussion and bilateral meeting took place between the Philippine representatives, the Network Center, and Secretariat for the EANET. This meeting provided an opportunity to share their findings, insights, and recommendations. Finally, on the afternoon of 26 May, the National Stakeholder Awareness Workshop: Promoting acid deposition and air quality management in East Asia was held to address air quality management challenges and explore potential solutions tailored to the specific context of the Philippines.


Site visit in Pampanga, Region III


VOC Advisory Group Recommendations and Highlights

The VOC project Advisory group meeting involved thirty-six participants and facilitated in-depth information exchanges and discussions among project stakeholders and advisory group members. Recommendations for the project plan were compiled based on the insights gained from the laboratory and monitoring assessments during the mission.

The Advisory Group emphasized that the final goal of the project is to reduce Ozone and PM2.5 pollution. For this purpose, understanding the status of VOCs and exploring the best solutions for their reduction is key. The Advisory Group discussed VOCs measurement methodologies and a methodology for estimating Secondary Organic Aerosol (SOA) contribution and source apportionment of VOCs.

Among their recommendations, the Advisory group considered prioritizing monitoring of BTX (Benzene, Toluene, Xylene) in the Philippines and Mongolia. Methods such as Canister/Gas Chromatography/Flame Ionization Detection/Mass Spectrometry (GC/FID/MS) and Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS) were recommended to be compared. Sampling should be conducted for 24 hours over two weeks at various locations. Capacity building for Volatile Organic Compounds monitoring was considered crucial. Re-establishing Canister/Sorbent Tube-GC/FID/MS methods (TO14/14a/15/15a) in the lab is recommended. Training, consumables, and support for monitoring and analysis were considered important. Developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for VOCs monitoring and formulating air quality guidelines are the key objectives.


The mission in the Philippines received financial contributions from the Ministry of the Environment, Japan (MOEJ) and significant in-kind contributions from the Philippines, for which the organizers expressed their appreciation.


The VOC project has been funded by The Ministry of Environment, Japan (MOEJ), through the EANET Project Fund.


Useful Resources:

-Read the meeting highlights on the Environmental Management Bureau’s (EMB) website.

-View the EANET VOC Project Advisory Group Meeting photos on Flickr


Photo credits: Cover photo by Louis (2015), all other photos, all rights reserved to the EANET.