EANET kicks-off its first Project Fund Activity on Volatile Organic Compounds

16 February 2023 – Niigata, Japan

Under the leadership of the Ministry of Environment of Japan and with the technical support of the Network Center for the EANET, the first EANET Project Activity launched its online kick-off meeting on 15 February. It gathered over 40 participants mainly from Japan, Mongolia, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, and Thailand, involved in sharing or receiving technical assistance related to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) monitoring.


Why Volatile Organic Compounds?

Since the recent expansion of the scope of the EANET from acid deposition monitoring to wider air pollution action, the Network has started to carry out activities related to additional chemical species, including Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

VOCs are “compounds that have a high vapor pressure and low water solubility. Many VOCs are human-made chemicals that are used and produced in the manufacture of paints, pharmaceuticals, and refrigerants” according to the US-EPA. In addition, several emission sources such as biogenic emissions, forest fires, waste burning including plastic, automobile exhaust, fossil fuel burning, and stock farming can produce VOCs. Exposure to VOCs may have various dangerous health effects from eyes, throat, and nose irritation to more serious conditions such as liver, kidney, or central nervous system damage, sometimes leading to cancer.


Representation of PM2.5 and Ozone Co-contrail, by Prof. Hajime Akimoto (all rights reserved).


VOCs are also precursors of particulate matter and ozone. It is important to measure VOCs to better understand how to mitigate air pollutants emissions.


Learning more about VOCs emissions in East Asia

VOCs monitoring is complex due to its complicated source characteristics and costly measuring technology. For this reason, its monitoring is still at an early stage in Asia.

The “Feasibility for Promoting VOCs related Capacity Building in the EANET” project is part of the first batch of EANET Projects funded by the EANET Project Fund. Supported by the Ministry of the Environment, Japan, the project is coordinated by the Network Center for the EANET.

Through this project, experts in VOCs from the Center for Environmental Science in Saitama (CESS), in Japan will share their knowledge and assist the government officials from Mongolia and from the Philippines to develop their 3-year national implementation plan. During the kick-off meeting, Government representatives from the Philippines and Mongolia shared their plans and priorities for tackling VOCs.

Screenshot from participants during the kick-off meeting


In addition, a VOC Advisory Group composed of experts from the NC and EANET countries has been brought together and will also give guidance on feasible measurement methods, data analysis, identification of the target species to measure VOCs, and feasible reduction measures.

At this stage, the implementation partners are environmentalists from Mongolia and from the Philippines. However, the project’s goal is to serve all the EANET countries and be further replicated.

The next meeting will take place in person in Manila in May 2023 to continue discussions on the feasibility and methodology of VOCs management.


Interested in finding out more about the EANET Project Fund? Read more on how to fund or submit an EANET Project.


Photo credits: featured photo by Anton Eprev on Unsplash (2019); other photos: all rights reserved to EANET.