State-of-the–art chem lab a boon for local environmental watchdogs

April 4th, 2011 by

DAVAO CITY – Concerned groups at the forefront of the campaign to preserve Davao’s  environment welcomed the opening of the Chemistry Analytical and Research Laboratory (CARL) of the Ateneo de Davao University last March 10, 2011.

Executive Director Lia Esquillo of the Interface Development Interventions, Inc (IDIS) said that the newly opened scientific facility is a boon to independent researchers, policymakers and environment watchdogs as it will be helpful in providing with accurate data that they need. “This is a development which we welcome in behalf of environmentalists everywhere. As Davao strengthens its position as an environmentally conscious city, it becomes imperative that it should also have the facilities which can help develop analytic methods to support the City’s environmental  regulatory activities”, she said.

“In 2007, we were part of a multi-sectoral study that monitored pesticide presence in Davao’s rivers. But the existing laboratories then had limited capacity on what pesticides to detect, not to mention the high cost of testing. With CARL, practically all kinds of pesticides and other chemicals could be detected and we could onlyh hope AdDu would provide affordable rates since the public needs these kind of data.”, she added.

Esquillo was  present  to witness the opening of the state-of-the-art laboratory at the Ateneo de Davao University.  Of particular interest for Esquillo and the other environmental advocates present at the activity  was the latest gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) model, the GCMS-QP2010 ULTRA, which the only one of its kind in the Philippines. The GCMS represents the latest technology on pesticide analysis and can be used for a variety of applications like environmental profiling and geosciences applications.

The opening  of CARL comes at an opportune moment even as the regional Department of Environment and Natural Resources is now  studying plans to monitor the level of pesticides in the air.

During a dialogue with environmental civil society groups late last January 2011, Sampulna  had welcomed the idea of conducting regular monitoring on water, air and sediments in coordination with concerned agencies. At the end of the dialogue, he committed to buy equipment to help DENR monitor pesticides in the Davao region.

“Perhaps a collaborative effort  can be made between the DENR and the CARL- Ateneo  which could point the way for better monitoring of the extent of pesticide contamination in the region”, Esquillo said. (Published April 2, 2011, Daily Mirror)