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Presidents Report - February 2017

CASANZ has just reached the significant milestone of turning 50 this year, so it is a good time to reflect and celebrate our success. In March 1966, we started out as a small group of passionate individuals who wanted to form a society for people with a common interest in air pollution. We now have around 600 members across Australia and NZ.  Look out for our 50 year anniversary Journal in May and other events and activities coming up.

 

Over the past 50 years, air quality management has come a long way. In the early years of the society the focus was mainly on point source industrial processes in a local area. Public interest in air pollution was also high following number of killer smogs in major cities in Europe and the US. Most of the effects that were being dealt with were acute and legislation responded to this.

 

Since then we have continued to make an impact and as a profession we can be proud of the success and influence that we have had. In most urban environments in Australia and NZ, the contribution of industry to air emissions is now minor relative to the contributions from motor vehicles and domestic fires. Significant improvements have also been made in vehicle emissions and fuel quality standards. The international community has also successfully worked together on important agreements such as the Stockholm Convention (organochlorines), Montreal Protocol (Ozone depleting substances), Long Range Transport of Air Pollutants and the Minamata convention.

 

Now air quality management is more about dealing with a range of diffuse air pollution sources, some of which have global impacts.  Killer smogs now also occur in other parts of the world where industrialisation and the use of motor vehicle transport has increased significantly. Our understanding of the impacts of air pollution also continues to improve.

 

I expect we will still be working on air quality management over the foreseeable future, but we will also be dealing with new issues we don’t yet know much about (for example nanoparticles) or hadn’t even thought of. Although tighter emissions standards have significantly reduced pollution rates per vehicle, we have not yet resolved the issue of air pollution from motor vehicles.  The growth in traffic numbers and distance travelled offsets some of the gains we have made. NOx and ultrafine particle emissions still cause air pollution issues in European cities, particularly where diesel vehicles increased as a result of legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Advances in appliance design have also cleaned up emissions from wood burners, but urban intensification in areas subject to poor winter time dispersion means we still see wintertime exceedences.  Significant future improvements in air quality are less likely to come from industry and more likely to come from engaging the community to change their behaviour.

 

Over the past few months, I have been leading the development of a science strategy for where I work.  This has been an interesting project thinking about how science is used to make decisions. Robust scientific and technical information is an essential component of government decision making and for this reason central governments in both Australia and more recently NZ have Chief Scientists who advise government on science matters. Many other organisations also have chief science advisors. This recognises the importance of science, and for us air quality science, used to make decisions at a national and local level.

 

However, when it comes to making decisions in a political environment, science and technical information is only part of the picture, even though sometimes we might wish it wasn’t.  The costs and benefits of a proposal, the social impacts and how to influence behaviour change are also important considerations. A really good example of this is domestic home heating emissions. Even though we know at a technical level that emissions from domestic home heating have an impact on people’s health, change will only occur if society judges that the risk is high enough to outweigh the social and economic impacts of implementing policy on domestic heating. How we make this balance judgement also changes over time – what we thought was acceptable thirty years ago might not be acceptable any more – either because views have changed or we know more.

 

Therefore as air quality professionals we need to be up to date with current thinking, understand competing interests, and be able to communicate what we know about air quality. CASANZ is the place where we can up-skill on these aspects of our work. We can learn about emerging issues and network with colleagues who have similar interests. 

 

Many of us interact across technical and non-technical areas or across other environmental domains. With this in mind, we will partner with other organisations where we have a common interest. We will also provide training in areas that are not solely about air quality science but do have direct relevance to us as members.

 

These are opportunities we will explore further in mid-March when the Council of CASANZ (which could be viewed as the society board) meets to discuss business planning and future strategic direction. We will also discuss what else we should change so we stay relevant to you as members. If you think there are ways we can do things better then you are welcome to contact Vicki or me before the March meeting.

 

The team, both paid and volunteer, have worked hard over the last couple of years to improve the way we operate. This has included implementing our accreditation programme which rolled out last year, upgrading our website (due for completion in April) and refreshing our training. The Brisbane conference team aim to run the conference so that it works better for delegates and for organisations that have booths in the exhibition area. We are starting to see some positive change and more activity within the Society. Our priorities over the coming year will be to: 

 

·      Hold more events, training and networking opportunities

·      Run a successful conference

·      Upgrade our website including:

    • members only access
    • easy to update profile and entry of CAQP points
    • searchable content
    • downloadable publications
    • improved consultants directory
    • shopping cart and additional features

·      Modernise our constitution

 

The changes we are making now, along with our strategic thinking in March, will put us in a good place to continue on for the next fifty years. All the best for 2017 and I hope to see many of you at the CASANZ conference in October.

Janet Petersen

CASANZ President


 

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Presidents report May 2016

Presidents Report - May 2016

CAQP program

Our recently launched Certified Air Quality Professional program is an important step for CASANZ in improving value for members and raising the profile of the Society. CAQP will formally recognise members for their professional expertise and integrity and their commitment to continuing professional development. Full details of the program and the application form are on our web site under the CAQP tab. We encourage you to apply now. 

The CAQP program is the culmination of a year’s work (interrupted somewhat by last year’s conference) by a task committee comprising Yvonne Scorgie, Vicki Callaway, Nick Koerbin, Jon Harper, Jeff Bluett, Jason Choi, Janet Petersen, Greer Laing, Gary Graham, and Francine Manansala. I’d like to personally thank them all for their enthusiasm for the task. 

Considerable effort was put into designing a straightforward application form to assemble the required information about qualifications and experience. Applicants must have the support of two referees in the environmental field. Applications will be assessed by our PARP (CASANZ’s Professional Accreditation Review Panel). Once accredited, CAQP members will be allowed to use the post nominal ‘CAQP’ to identify their status. CAQP members will be required to achieve a minimum of 10 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points per annum (or 20 over two years) to maintain their status. A detailed CPD point list of activities is included with the information on the website. 

Benefits for CAQP members include having their profile on the CASANZ CAQP webpage and promotion in our journal. It will raise the profile of air quality professionals among peers in industry, research, government, academia and the community. It will demonstrate to clients that you hold all relevant skills, qualifications and experience, and uphold the highest possible standards of ethical behaviour. We anticipate that a significant fraction of members will seek and obtain CAQP status. 

We will retain the membership grade of Fellow as the highest status for members with contributions across a wide sphere of activities including service to the Society. We currently have twenty Fellows, who are listed on the website under ‘About CASANZ’. But we will close the existing Accredited Professional grade as the new CAQP program provides a better type of accreditation that will become much more recognised across the ‘industry’. 

The program will be reviewed after 12 months to iron out any teething problems and improve its operation. We encourage feedback with suggestions for improvements at any time. 

Wood smoke

With winter on the way, the wood smoke from autumn fuel reduction burns will be replaced in many places by the smoke from domestic wood heaters. I was faced with the enigma of wood smoke pollution on a recent backpacking trip as the smoke from our camp fire followed me around as I moved around trying to find the best spot to get the warmth from the fire but avoid the stinging smoke in my eyes. How high were the PM levels, I wondered, and what would a full risk assessment look like taking into account the health impacts of the smoke and the enjoyment of a camp fire out in the bush, something people have been doing for tens of thousands of years? The next morning, the smoke from our fire wafted around the local valley, mixing with the fog and revealing the swirling and sloshing of the stable air mass! There were no other campers for tens of kilometres and our smoke would soon be dispersed. But later that day, our views of the mountains and distant ranges was impeded by the haze from wide-scale fuel reduction burns.  

Wood smoke remains a difficult air pollution problem. An upcoming CASANZ/Tasmanian EPA workshop will discuss the issues associated with biomass smoke in the human environment. There is a lot happening in this field: (i) better monitoring to define the extent of the issue and determine population exposures, (ii) improved emissions information, including real-time satellite data, along with advances in chemical transport modelling providing better predictions, and (iii) better understandings of what’s possible through interventions, regulations, and education.  

Wood smoke is sometimes seen as an example of one of air pollution’s wicked problems – a complex, multi-causal problem that is difficult to even get the science properly understood but then with economic conflicts, contradictory opinions (some smoke is ok, other smoke not), and requiring changes in behaviour, so that the ultimate solution is political, hopefully driven by good science.  

Challenges

This leads on to thoughts about the challenges we face in Australia in the air quality space. What are the old problems we haven’t yet solved, the old problems we thought we’d solved but new information or attitudes means we have to solve again, and the new problems that we’re still coming to grips with?  

There’s the NEPM challenge because we’re still tied to the 20 year old idea of representative background sites. This is being challenged by increasing urban density, less vegetation in our cities, more people living close to main roads, almost no data on pollution levels in CBDs, etc. What can we do with cheaper sensor networks to provide better information to tackle issues and address community concerns?  

There’s the Clean Air Agreement challenge. How can this be properly resourced? How do we find better solutions where the ‘market’ and the ‘individual’ are the dominant paradigm for everything? How do we prevent the loss of expertise from government and other agencies (even CSIRO was set to respond to political pressures and completely cut climate and atmospheric research)?  

CASANZ can play an important role in all this and the CAQP program is a step showing that we’re serious about playing a larger part. 

Dr Mark Hibberd
CASANZ President

Promoting Excellence in Clean Air Quality and Climate Change

 

The Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand (CASANZ) brings together people with an interest in environmental science and  management with particular reference to air quality, climate change, and related issues.   The Society promotes the protection of the environment and has over 600 members, with a demographic predominately from within Australia and New Zealand, but also extended to various parts of the world. The Society is a non-government, non-profit Organisation.

1.     The objects of the society are to promote the protection of the environment,  through advancement of knowledge and practical experience of environmental and air quality science and management.

2.     CASANZ is an organisation which gathers and distribute the experience and knowledge of its members, to benefit society members and the public.

3.     CASANZ provides lectures, exhibitions, public meetings and conferences as a forum to expand knowledge of environmental matters, especially air quality, including causes, effects, measurement, legislative aspects and control of pollution.

4.     CASANZ develops liaisons with organisations with similar interests in Australia and New Zealand, as well as other countries.

5.     CASANZ prints and publishes  papers, periodical articles, books and information leaflets for the benefit of its members and the public.  An example is its Journal, Air Quality and Climate Change.

6.     CASANZ may provide scholarships, bursaries, monetary grants, awards and prizes to encourage the study and presentation of relevant subjects and disciplines in air quality and climate change.

CASANZ is governed by its Council, consisting of the elected Executive, Branch representatives and representatives nominated for special purposes. The Executive manages the day to day activities of the Society and directs the work of the part time Executive Officer and Administrative Officer.

 

CASANZ operates through autonomous Branches which determine their own programs of activities, including technical meetings, seminars, workshops, conferences, training courses and so forth. Details of these activities  are circulated to Branch members (and posted on this web site).

 

To benefit from the extensive resources of the Society and to be kept up to date on Society functions one must subscribe for membership. Full membership benefits are available only to Society members.

 

 

To view the CASANZ Financial Audit Report:

 

 

 

 

About CASANZ


The Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand is a non-profit, professional association that has been active for over 40 years, currently with a membership base of over 600 members. CASANZ focuses on the protection and improvement of the quality of the air we breathe, our climate and our atmosphere throughout all regions of Australia and New Zealand.


CASANZ is a technical society and a non-government organisation. We have members representing a broad range of sectors including national, state and local governments, science, business, industry, education, management and policy, legal and the general community. Our primary objective is to ensure that our members and other stakeholders are well informed about air quality issues and their problems. We promote professional excellence, continuous awareness of national and world issues and the facilitation of air quality related courses, workshops and seminars, facilitated by local and world recognised presenters.


Please explore this website and learn more about us. CASANZ encourages you to become a member and enjoy the benefits provided, including regular regional technical meetings, the quarterly journal Air Quality and Climate Change, monthly newsletters, bi-annual conferences and updates on the latest developments relevant to air quality and the changing needs of our environment.


Howard Bridgman

Immediate Past President


  CASANZ Constitution - as amended 1 December, 2009
  CASANZ Code of Ethics
  CASANZ 2011/12 Financial Audit Report
  CASANZ 2012/13 Financial Audit Report
  CASANZ 2013/14 Financial Audit Report
  CASANZ 2014/15 Financial Audit Report
  CASANZ 2015/16 Financial Audit Report
 
 
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