Annual report on the progress of the projects in the environment

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					     Annual report on the progress of the projects in the environment sector

                            Thematic Sector Environment

                             Lead Country: New Zealand
                            TSLCC: Dr Andreas Markwitz

                                    February 2006

RAS/7/011 “Enhancing the Sustainability of the Marine Coastal Environment
(Component 3)“

This project initiated in 2003 had three components namely, 1) Extension and
application of the marine database (ASPAMARD) 2) Fate and behaviour of marine
pollutants and 3) Harmful algal bloom concerns. The implementation of activities
related to the first two components was completed in 2004. The activities of
component 3 had to be extended to 2005 owing to delays in obtaining tritiated
saxitoxin form the USA, needed for implementation of the project.
Component 3 of the project was focused on toxin quantification using receptor
binding assay (RBA) as an alternative to the mouse bio assay (MBA), and
identification of natural and anthropogenic causes of harmful algal blooms
The following is a summary of the progress of component 3 in 2005.
China has established receptor binding assay for PSP and NSP toxins and has made
comparisons with mouse bioassay, ELISA and HPLC. More than 200 sediment
samples from five areas in coastal water of South-eastern China Sea have been
collected and 29 species of dinoflagellate cyst have been identified.
Indonesia has carried out Harmful algal identification and sedimentation rate studies
by Pb-210 dating.
Malaysia has established facilities for RBA at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
(UKM) and the Malaysia Department of Fisheries and has provided training in the
RBA to trainees from Pakistan and Indonesia in addition to local personnel. Malaysia
has also successfully participated in an RBA inter-laboratory exercise. Sediment cores
for chronology studies were collected from the Straits of Malacca and west coast of
Sabah. Facilities for sediment dating have been established in Universiti Kebangsaan
Malaysia and Malaysian Institute for Nuclear Technology (MINT).
Pakistan Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH) has received
essential supplies and expert assistance for establishment of Receptor Binding Assay
Laboratory for PSP analysis. The end-user institutions have indicted willingness to
continue HAB related activities in collaboration with PINSTECH. For future studies,
the PINSTECH plans to focus on determination of the source, fate, and consequences
of algal toxins, development of forecasting capabilities for the occurrence and impacts
of HABs.
Facilities for RBA for PSP toxins have been fully established in the Philippines. Inter-
comparison studies between mouse bioassay, RBA and HPLC method have been
conducted and has given good agreement among methods. RBA is now being used as

an assay method for uptake studies of the saxitoxins in shellfish under field
conditions. Sampling for sediment dating and cyst analyses have been completed in
five study areas/bays (Manila bay, Malampaya Sound, Bolinao area, Masinloc area,
and Honda Bay). The Philippines has provided expert assistance to two Member
States for establishment of RBA and has hosted Scientific Visitors from other
Member States.
Thailand has established facilities for. RBA at Office for Atoms for Peace (OAP) and
several localmollusks have been analyzed for PSP using this technique. The method
has been validated by RBA vs. mouse bioassay inter-laboratory comparison in
collaboration with the Fishery Inspection and Quality Control Division. Nine
sediment cores from one area along the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand have been
dated by radiometric (210Pb) dating technique. The data of cyst identification in
surface sediment from 14 stations of the same area has been carried out by the Marine
Science Department of Chulalongkorn University.
Vietnam has established facilities for RBA at the Nuclear Research Institute in DaLat.
Sediment cores for chronology studies have been collected from Cam Ranh Bay (3
cores), Ha Long Bay (3 cores), and Tuy Phong Bay (3 cores).
Project effectiveness: This project component has been effective in enhancing
regional cooperation as evidenced by exchange of experts/trainees amongst countries
in the region. It has produced significant outcomes in the area of RBA/PSP detection
in sea-food. Future applications of Pb-210 sediment dating have been explored and
have contributed to new project proposals at the national level that will use and
further develop reconstruction of environmental histories in water storage dams, soil
erosion and coastal zones. The collaborations established among nuclear institutes,
governmental agencies and academic institutes/ universities effectively contributed to
the achievement of the project objectives. The successful functioning of RRU’s in
delivering expert missions and providing fellowship training also demonstrates that
the capabilities being built within this project are contributing to sustainability of the
Project efficiency: This project component successfully accomplished the majority of
its objectives as defined during the Project Formulation Meeting. However, in some
countries, efficiency was somewhat affected by changes in counterparts over the
lifetime of the project, delayed delivery of the consumables due to trade restrictions
and customs regulations. It builds on the achievements of previous RCA projects
including RAS/8/080 and RAS/8/076 and was efficiently undertaken largely due to
consolidated regional networks established as a result of previous RCA projects
which were further strengthened here and will be harnessed in the future. A specific
objective for the production of tritium labelled saxitoxin was not met due to
difficulties in obtaining high specific activity tritiated water.
Assessment of sustainability: Sustainability has been demonstrated through the
application of these techniques to commercial problems in a number of countries and
through the recognition by end users and beneficiaries of the usefulness of these
techniques to solve economically important problems. This can be seen in the
following example. China - Both RBA and cyst analysis are included in the national
HAB project to explore fast and sensitive methods for HAB toxin detection, as well as
to determinate the role of cyst in the initiation of HABs. First & Third Institute of
Oceanography recommended to State Oceanic Administration to continue applying
these two techniques in the routine HAB monitoring in some areas.

o Request IAEA and RCA coordinators to fully support the concept proposal
o Applications of Nuclear Techniques to Management of Hazardous Algal Blooms
   (HABs) in the Asia-Pacific Region which was submitted through the RCA for the
   2007/8 TC cycle.
o Request IAEA and RCA Member States to develop and maintain a framework on
   the RCA website for project documentation (e.g. reports, training records) and
   success stories.
o Request IAEA to make available tritiated saxitoxin to all interested member states
   including former counterparts of closed TC projects.
o Request IAEA to continue to fund activities related towards the complete
   establishment of the receptor binding assay method through: a. Assistance in the
   effort towards the commercial production of 3HSTX or other suitable radio-
   labelled toxin. It is therefore recommended that the technical sub-contract fund
   towards the production of iodinated conotoxin offered to the University of the
   Philippines (Dr. Lourdes Cruz) should be retained under this project. b. Training
   of the end-user institutes in the use of the RBA technique. c. Provision of major
   equipment to end-user institutes.
o Request IAEA to provide assistance in the collation, analysis and publication of
   the regional cyst and sediment dating data bases.
o The IAEA should support the production of a stably-labelled STX for the RBA.
   This would enable performing of the RBA using a filtermat format as opposed to
   the current microplate format. This would significantly cut down the cost of
   performing the assay.
o The IAEA should support the application of the RBA for the detection and
   monitoring of other suitable seafood toxins. The assay is already proven useful for
   the detection of domoic acid that causes ASP. One of the seafood toxin detection
   that would greatly benefit from the application of the RBA is ciguatera fish
   poisoning. This is a very important problem in many tropical and subtropical
   countries. Unfortunately it is also one of the most problematic toxins to monitor
   using the mouse bioassay.

(Sources of information: Report of the Final Project Meeting of Component 3 of the project, October
2005; Summary document provided by RCA coordinator February 2006).

RAS/7/013 “Improved Information about Urban Air Quality Management “

This project with commenced in 2003, was extended to the 2005/2006 project cycle.
The objectives of the project are to obtain a sufficiently large set of high-quality
regional data characterizing airborne particulate matter (APM) for (i) development of
a regional database on aerosols in the region; (ii) employment of advanced receptor
models to provide more detailed and accurate descriptions of the types and locations
of pollution sources; and (iii) assessment of the effectiveness of actions taken by
participating countries to reduce concentrations and impact of particulate pollution.
Review of project activities vs. work plan show that the most of the tasks planned for
2005 have been completed. RRUs have been actively used in analyzing samples.

(RRUs for PIXE Australia and New Zealand; INAA: China, Pakistan, Korea; XRF:
Vietnam; Data interpretation: Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia).
End-users have been significantly involved in the programme. In many countries end-
users have taken over the exchange of filters in the GENT units and many countries
contributed financially to the programme. These in-kind and financial contributions
are a great step forward to sustainability of the programme. In some countries, GENT
samplers are used for air pollution monitoring for legislative purposes.
The following specific activities were carried out in 2005. Sampling APM using the
“Gent” SFUs twice weekly for the full year at two fixed locations (nominal urban &
rural), elemental analysis (ng/m3) of coarse and fine collected filters (typically more
than 15 elements including black carbon, silicon and sulphur), data validation and
quality control to ensure high data quality; monitoring changes in long-term trends
and transboundary events; identification, characterisation, source fingerprinting and
source apportionment by using appropriate statistical tools (STATAGRAPHICS,
CMB, PMF), maintenance of national databases, time series analyses of the source
apportionments as well as selected elements, quantification of natural and
anthropogenic source contributions within member states, calculation of air parcel
back trajectories for key sampling intervals and application of HYSPLIT techniques
across the sampling regime; use of back trajectories in appropriate receptor models for
source region identification quantification of natural and anthropogenic source
contributions across the sampling region; collaboration with end user organizations to
assist in fulfilling their national regulatory requirements.
Specific achievements in 2005: (i) The QA and data validation in the project has
significantly improved in 2005 due to efficient use of RRU services. All participating
Member States have been generating error and minimum limits of detection matrixes
associated with fine and coarse air particulate matter data for the first time; (ii)
significant increase in number of Member States able to perform meaningful factor
analysis and source apportionment on the own national data. More than 75%; (iii)
increased understanding of individual elements contributing to individual sources as
can be seen by an increased usage of PMF software; (iv) consistent stable end user
base (sustainability). Increased in-kind usage and some external funding from end-
users to the project; (v) increased use of HYSPLIT back trajectory software for source
location identification by Member States which will have a two fold effect – 1. can be
past onto end users, 2. can be applied in future projects; (vi) increased regional
interest amongst national EPAs to set new improved standards for air particulate
matter. This has generated a new window of opportunity for the project to increase the
interaction with end-users; (vii) the US EPA is introducing a new standard for fine
and coarse particulate matter which also replaced the PM10 standard which puts the
project in an excellent position for increased work in the future; (viii) this project has
so far generated the largest database for fine and coarse airborne particulate matter in
the Australasian region (more than 5.000 filters). It is anticipated that the fully
validated will be generally available six months after the completion of the project (30
June 2007); (ix) assessment of the impact of removal of 2-stroke 3-wheel taxis in
Dhaka in 2005. 30 % reduction in fine particulate matter mass in heavy traffic area;
(x) first measurements in Australia of increased fine particulate manganese (by a
factor of three) in urban area following the introduction of Pb replacement in petrol in
Jan 2001; (xi) the long term project fine particulate data (1998 – 2004) demonstrated
the need for fine particulate standard which are now being considered for future
implementation in the Philippines; (xii) first quantification of silver in cloud seeding

detected on the fine particle component sampled in Beijing; (xiii) ISO 17025
accreditation was granted to the Technique Analysis Radiometry laboratory at
Bandung for air particulate matter analysis using INAA enhancing the data
acceptance by end-users in Indonesia; (xiv) data from this project is used by
CEA/Ministry of Environment for identifying trends of pollution. As a consequence,
Introduced 4 stroke engines in 3-wheelers by replacing 2 stoke engines with
government tax relax - joint effort from this project and ongoing national project; (xv)
the project data has been used to produced 18 significant publications. A key paper is
on sulphate and nitrate on mineral dust formation published in the high profile
international journal Atmospheric Environment 39 (2005) 7231.
Further action has been taken to establish collaboration with the “Clean Air Initiative
for Asia” programme funded by the Asian Development Bank. The Technical Officer
of the project and the Project Lead Country Coordinator attended a Meeting on
“Regional Dialogue of Air Quality Programs in Asia” organized under this
programme and presented information on the activities carried out under RCA.

o The project should continue according to the agreed workplan for 2006 in order to
   finalise the project outcomes.
o Member states requiring RRU support should take advantage of RRU services as
   soon as possible and if possible before June 2006 in order to complete the work
   plan on time.
o It is recommended to continue the successful end-user collaborations for the
   purpose of accumulating unique fine and coarse air particulate matter databases in
   the Australasian region.
o Links to international programmes in the region, such as CAI and UN-ESCAP
   should be continued.
o A new RCA/IAEA programme on air particulate matter pollution is highly
   recommended to quantify transboundary air pollution and regional air pollution
   movements in the Australasian region.

National commitment: Achieved to date. A number of participating countries have
given high priority for air pollution control in their country programme frameworks
(Bangladesh, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Philippines) and
have begun to adopt air quality management legislation, regulations or policies. Other
countries have national programmes addressing this issue. The countries involved,
government authorities and other project participants are prepared to provide the
necessary scientific and technical staff, analytical laboratory facilities, sampling
equipment and operating costs. Regional Resource Units (RRUs) received scientific
visitors and fellows to assist in multi-element analysis of airborne particles, statistical
evaluation and interpretation of the analytical results. The interest and involvement of
the end user institutions responsible for the implementation of air quality management
practices in the participating countries strengthens a commitment to sustain the

Agency input: Achieved to date.

Outcomes: On track. A regional database combining high-quality data
characterizing airborne particulate matter in the fine and coarse breathable modes is
being established. Sources of air pollution at local and trans-boundary scales, using
advanced receptor models are currently identified and quantified. Information
becomes available on the effectiveness of measures taken to control air pollution.

Expected project impact: On track to date. With this project, a more complete
long-term local and regional database will be generated as well as source fingerprints
and information on possible trans-boundary pollution episodes. The project will also
lead to greater understanding of trans-boundary issues affecting urban air quality and
development of local capability in participating Member States to undertake such
Sources of information: Programme assessment meeting, 6-10 February 2006; The Progress Report of
the Project Lead Country Coordinator for January – December 2005); Summary document provided by
RCA coordinator February 2006.

RAS/8/095 “Improving Regional Capacity for Assessment, Planning, and Response to
Aquatic Environmental Emergencies”

The objective of this project funded by Australia is to improve the regional capacity
for the management of aquatic environmental risks and to develop capacity in the
RCA countries to assess, plan, and respond to pollution in coastal aquatic
environments. The following is a summary of the progress reported to the PLCC by
three participating Member States.
India is carrying out studies on the effects of fallout of radionuclides and toxic metals
from atmospheric weapon testing and industrial effluent releases on the coastal and
marine environment. The annual individual dose from 137Cs in seafood for the Indian
subcontinent has been found to be 0.028 μSv. From the generated data on the
pollutant interaction with sediment and biota attempt being made to understand the
radionuclides concentration in water and sediment as a function of time. Such
database will also provide a benchmark that would be helpful in assessing the impact
of additional contribution of pollutant to coastal marine environment in the future.
The developed model will be used under different conditions to validate its predictive
power for actual intake. This will help in establishing risk of contaminants to
The project activities of the Philippines are closely linked with the activities of
DENR-PEMSEA and the University of the Philippines. Philippines has carried out
compilation of TBT, elemental composition and radioactivity in Manila Bay
sediments taken in 9 sampling stations for formulating the monitoring program for
Manila Bay. The data will provide inputs to environmental managers and local
officials in charge of keeping the bay sustainable. The data can help in the assessment
of aquatic emergencies, such as fish kill, toxic HAB, oil spill and TBT
The following activities have been carried out by Thailand,

   Collection of field data relating to basic hydrological and chemical parameters at
    the project site.
   A study on the sedimentation rate using Pb-210 and Ra-226 data in sediment cores
    has been completed.
   Negotiations with Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Ministry of
    Natural Resources and Environment to join the project.

Constraints on project implementations and recommendation:
India: No constraints reported.
Philippines: The project has significant economic impact. Modelling and its validation
using isotopic techniques will greatly assist in the mitigation of negative impacts to
the environment and public health. The grant of Technical Subcontract Fund to
participating MSs will facilitate the conduct of activities in this project (which is often
limited by available resources in the MSs). Recommendation: Philippines were
delivered an RMA hydrodynamic model for Manila Bay in a previous project
(RAS/7/011) which is the basis for ongoing contaminant and HAB studies. This model
does not perform up to expectations and an expert mission to make the model
software functional is warranted to resolve this issue.
Thailand: Study on application of stable isotopes; like 13C and 15N ratios in the study
of relationship between biota in ecological system should be implemented and
supported in analytical techniques and cost. Mathematical modelling of water
transport techniques should be supported in technical assistants; such as expert
mission and training. Recommendation: Thailand has a great interest for the
application of stable isotope techniques in studies of eutrophication and contaminant
transport though the food web. These techniques were introduced to RCA in
RAS/7/011 and an expert mission to assist in developing sampling and analytical
protocols and/or transport model development for these studies is warranted.
Financial assistance for stable isotope analyses could also be considered via
appropriate mechanisms.
Outcomes: On track to be achieved by programme end. The expertise and
knowledge is on track to be transferred to the RCA Member States on the use of
computer codes for quantitative assessment of ecological risk, associated with the
release of contaminants into estuarine and coastal environments. Capability of using
hydrodynamic models for analysing dispersion of pollutants in aquatic environments
under local environmental conditions will be established.

Expected project impact: On track: The project enhances the regional and national
ability to assess, plan, and respond to aquatic environmental emergencies and
therefore reduces the risks to the economic well-being and health of communities in
the region. The trans-boundary nature of the problems being addressed underlines the
need for a regional response.
(Sources of information: The Progress Report of the Project Lead Country Coordinator for January –
December 2005; Summary document provided by RCA coordinator February 2006)

RAS/8/097 “Isotope Techniques For Groundwater Contamination Studies In The
Urbanized And Industrial Areas”
This project, which commenced in 2003, was extended to the 2005/2006 cycle. The
objective of the project is to assess, manage, and prevent further degradation of
groundwater quality in selected urbanized and industrial areas, and to promote the use
of isotope hydrology techniques in addition to conventional techniques (hydro-
geological, chemical, and biological) for study of pollutant behaviour and
contaminant transport in groundwater systems.
The following is a summary of the progress of this project as reported by the PLCC of
the project:
o Studies carried out in Bangladesh have contributed to the setting up of an early
    warning system for sustainable ground water protection.
o China has carried out a detailed hydrogeological survey in Datong Basin where
    groundwater with high arsenic has been found in Shanyin County in the southern
    part of the basin.
o India has interpreted stable isotope data to identify the processes affecting the
    arsenic contaminated groundwater.
o Indonesia has applied single and double borehole techniques in Bantar Gebang
    landfill, Bekasi to determine groundwater flow direction and flow characteristics.
o Republic of Korea continued chemical and isotopic analysis for surface water and
    groundwater samples.
o Studies carried out in Malaysia to assess the assess the impact of Pulau Burung
    Sanitary Landfill on groundwater resources have indicated that ground water
    pollution is not caused by the leachate seepage from the treatment ponds.
o Mongolia has selected study sites (Erdenet City and Zaamar region) and has
    collected surface and groundwater samples from the study areas for stable
    isotopes, tritium, C-14 and CFCs analyses.
o A total of 266 water samples from Lahore, Rawalpindi / Islamabad and Multan
    were analyzed for 2H, 3H, 18O, 13C, NO3--15N, and fecal and total coliform in
    Pakistan. Interpretation of the data has been carried out and results have been
    reported in three individual reports. Sediment samples from two well borings have
    been collected for elemental analysis in order to investigate occurrence of arsenic.
    Pakistan also assisted a number of Member States without analytical facilities by
    analyzing samples received from these Member States.

Further course of action:
Bangladesh: The following tasks will be continued. Field investigation and collection
of water samples from groundwater in the Narayanganj industrial area and from
adjacent Lakhya river for chemical and isotopic analysis, Collection of hydrological,
hydrogeological information, etc. Isotopic analysis of water samples for two seasons
(dry and wet). Data processing and interpretation
China: In view of the severity of groundwater arsenic pollution in some regions of
China, isotope and geochemical modelling in groundwater arsenic contamination
would be carried. Several classical study areas would be selected for the implement of
the project, and water samples and soil samples would be collected. The forming
mechanism of groundwater with high arsenic content would be analysed using isotope
and geochemical modelling. The study results would be introduced to other users who
wish to protect groundwater from arsenic pollution using isotope and geochemical

India: Groundwater, surface water sampling for isotopic and chemical analysis.
Isotopic as well as Chemical analysis. Data processing, interpretation and preparation
of final report
Indonesia: Analysis of the samples from will be continued if mass spectrometer can
be repaired.
Republic of Korea: Collection of water and rock samples. Isotopic and chemical
analyses of the collected samples. Hydraulic testing Interpretation of hydrogeological
and hydrogeochemical data. Evaluation and interpretation of the data of hydraulic
tests. Integration of available data. Report writing
Malaysia: Assessment of several parameters which include; a. Hydrogeochemical
assessment, b. Hydrological assessment, c. Isotope assessment, d. Biological
assessment, e. Geophysical assessment
Mongolia: To continue sampling, analysis for isotopes and chemical ions and
collection of field data. To receive training through fellowships and scientific visits.
To receive foreign expert missions for data interpretation and evaluation the aspect of
ground water pollution and surface water and groundwater resources. To do an
environmental impact assessment. To make the map of water resources and water
pollution of Orkhon river basin. To write final report for this project implementation.
Pakistan: Continuation of isotope and chemical analysis of samples already collected.
Collection of samples from shallow/deep groundwater and surface water for
environmental isotopes, chemical ions, pollution indicators (As, F, NO3, Pb, Cr etc.),
CFCs, E-Coli bacteria. Analysis of samples for various isotopes and chemical species.
Collection of sediment cores and analysis for metals. Periodic progress reports.
National seminar on application of isotope techniques in hydrology and groundwater
pollution. Refinement of flow and transport model on the basis of conceptual model,
calibration, validation, sensitivity analysis of model and prediction of future
scenarios. Interpretations of isotopic, hydro-chemical and biological data for geogenic
contamination and mobilization processes. Participation in the regional events.
Preparation of report.
Philippines: Sample collection. Isotopic and chemical analysis of water samples.
Interpretation of data. Report writing.
Sri Lanka: Collection of samples. Isotopic as well as chemical analysis of samples.
Data interpretation. Numerical Modeling. Reporting
Thailand: The analysis of tritium of the samples previously collected will be carried
on. More samples of surface water and rainfall will be collected in late December of
2005. This is considered the middle period of the rainy season. Groundwater from the
three aquifers and as well as rainfall and river water will be analyze for D, H-3, O-18
to identify the recharge sources of groundwater. C-13 level of groundwater from this
new set of samples will also be determined to understand the interaction between
groundwater and rocks along its pathway. Geochemical modelling to evaluate the
chemical interaction between groundwater and its environment along its pathway.
Vietnam: Sampling groundwater for the dry and wet season. Analysis for water
quality of collected samples. Analysis for isotopic compositions (D, O-18, N-15, C-
13) of collected samples. Interpretation of results. Preparation of report. Planning for
the As study in Mekong Delta.

National commitment: On track to be achieved by programme end. The Member
States have made available their facilities and other resources for hosting regional
events, used isotope hydrology techniques in conjunction with other conventional
method for studying the problem and selected sites in urban and industrialized areas
for studies.

Outcomes, Agency input and expected project impacts: As off February 2006, it
can be expected that the outcomes of the project will be achieved by December 2006.
Understanding of the pollution sources and vulnerability of the aquifer in the selected
sites will enable decision makers to develop and manage water pollution control
policies and strategies. The outcome of the study will be beneficial for communities
as well as the management authorities such as the municipal corporations, water and
sanitation agencies, environmental conservation and regulatory authorities, to plan
future water conservation strategies.

(Sources of information: The Progress Report of the Project Lead Country Coordinator for January –
December 2005; Summary document provided by RCA coordinator February 2006)