LAUGFS Eco Sri sponsors National Symposium on Air Quality Management

Thursday, 2 June 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


LAUGFS Eco Sri, a pioneer in air quality management, recently co-sponsored the 6th National Symposium on Air Quality Management, which is jointly organised by the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Air Resource Management Centre and the University of Moratuwa. 

Held at Waters Edge, Battaramulla, the event was attended by President Maithripala Sirisena as the Chief Guest, together with many dignitaries including Minister of Science, Technology and Research Susil Premajayantha and Minister of Disaster Management Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. A number of foreign delegates representing donor agencies as well as UN envoys were also present.

Addressing the gathering, the President most fittingly called for firm decisions to be made towards facilitating environment conservation and protection in creating a sustainable future. The first copy of the action plan for clean air in 2025 was also presented to the President during the event.

A representative of the Vehicle Emission Testing Program addressed the gathering and noted that the progress of the VET project in Sri Lanka, which was initiated in 2008, and the many benefits it has yielded. He cited Sri Lanka’s VET program as one of the best compared to similar initiatives carried out within the region, and further stressed the importance of adopting even more stringent standards in setting a benchmark for the region. 

The current VET standards adopted in Sri Lanka is equivalent to a Euro 2-3 standard levels and is set to progressively improve, driven by ambitious targets set by the government. He further highlighted the need for continuous development in the program, which is currently operating as a Public-Private Partnership where two companies – LAUGFS Eco Sri and Clean Co Lanka are acting as the authorized Vehicle Emission Testing service providers, operating over 200 test centres island-wide collectively.

Presenting at the symposium, LAUGFS Eco Sri Head of Business Development Muditha Thebuwana referred to the many social benefits of the vehicle emission program, including health hazard mitigation and the growing environmental consciousness among the public. She drew attention to various research studies conducted in this area and remarked that a significant correlation has been found between the number of patients arriving for OPD units in Colombo for nebulisation, and the readings of particulate matter monitored in the Colombo City. 

“This is clearly indicative of the fact that many respiratory deceases such as asthma can be reduced through effective indoor and outdoor air quality management,” she stated.

Under the theme ‘Air That We Breathe,’ this year’s two-day symposium brought together many eminent experts in varying disciplines of air resource management. It aimed to provide a forum to present and discuss the most recent technological, scientific and policy developments associated with management of air pollution and air resources. The technical sessions over the two day period covered presentations and studies presented in a number of critical topic areas related to air quality management, including urban and regional smog and visibility degradation, policies and economics of air pollution preliminary programs and air pollution science and control technologies.

A representative of Clean Co Lanka referred to research data on the sharp decline of particulate matter and sulphur contents in the air of key cities over the past eight years, during which the vehicle emission testing has been implemented. He also stressed the many economic benefits of VET to the country and the motorists, who are able to save a minimum 10% on their fuel bills through effective testing and maintenance.

Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs Director Planning Dr. M.M.S.S.B. Yalegama who chaired the session pointed out that Sri Lanka’s Vehicle Emission Testing program is an exemplary project within the region and that the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model applied in implementing this program over the past eight years is one of the key success factors contributing to such an outcome. A number of participants from the audience reiterated his sentiments on the effectiveness of practicing a PPP model for operation of the air quality management program. 

Eco Sri is an ISO 9002 certified company and is the only ISO 14001 certified emission testing service provider in South Asia. It is one of the two Vehicle Emission Testing (VET) providers in the country, working together with the Department of Motor Traffic. As a pioneer in air quality management, Eco Sri has been in the forefront of creating awareness on air pollution and resulting social, economic and environmental damage.

Calling for more committed public participation and interest in preserving the environment, Thebuwana commented, “Vehicle Emission Testing should not be done simply because it is a prerequisite for obtaining the revenue license. We all need to consider it as part of our responsibility to preserving the air quality of our nation. It’s a responsibility we have towards the health and wellbeing of our future generations.”