NEPA hosts first Visual Emission Observer Training in Jamaica

January 20, 2011

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is working to build the cadre of trained opacity observers in Jamaica by hosting the country’s first Visual Emission Observer Training Session. Over 65 trainees from Government and Private Sector will be trained to use their eyes to read the degree to which emissions into the air obscure the background in the general atmosphere. This reading is then used to determine if our National Standard of 20% Opacity is being met. A continuous breach of this standard has serious implications for public health and environmental degradation.

NEPA with the support of the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA), has partnered with Eastern Technical Associates, a company based in the United States (US), to host a three-day workshop. The training is intended to build capacity in the public and private sectors to monitor visible emissions into the atmosphere as mandated by NRCA (Air Quality Regulations), 2006.

"The Agency is proactively seeking to prepare itself and industry to fulfill the requirements of the Air Quality Regulations. Two of our Officers were trained in the US last year. We now want to build additional capacity and to provide an opportunity for Professionals in licensed entities to access the training locally" said Peter Knight, Chief Executive Officer of NEPA.

The Visual Emission Observer Training will include classroom instructions and field certification, which will incorporate training on the use of equipment as well and practice runs. The Trainees will be introduced to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended Visible Emissions Observation procedures and the instruments.

All trainees will be certified at the end of the programmes but will need recertification every six months. The Agency intends to host training session twice annually. The training will take place at the University of the West Indies on January 25-27 2011.

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