APEGGA Teaming Up
To Sponsor Major
Air Quality Conference

Emerging Air Issues for the 21st Century, a conference scheduled for September in Calgary, won't make the air, nor the related regulations and technology stand still, but will offer regulators, consultants and other professional practitioners a chance to catch the drift of where air-quality issues are headed.

The conference represents a first-time partnership among APEGGA, the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists (ASPB) and the Canadian Prairie and Northern Section (CPANS) of the Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA). The Air & Waste Management Association is the world's largest environmental organization and is also a sponsor of the partnership.

Discussions to form a joint partnership to host an international conference on air issues were ongoing among APEGGA, ASPB and CPANS, starting in early 1996. The commitment to host this conference in Calgary was confirmed through a memorandum of understanding signed by the sponsoring associations in the fall of 1996.

A&WMA has an ongoing interest in environmental issues and through its presence in some 60 countries reaches an international membership of 15,000-plus. The active support of this large technical society with its diverse membership, plus the participation of the two professional organizations with a range of environmental expertise, should give the conference a very multi-disciplinary flavor, says Nina Novak, P.Biol., P.Eng. Along with Allan Legge, P.Biol., she is co-chair of the conference's technical committee.

As of mid -June, abstracts of technical papers had been received from more than 60 paper presenters, some from as far away as Europe. About a third of these papers originate from government organizations, with the rest generally emerging from universities and research establishment, or from product and service providers.

Topics expected to be dealt with during the main conference (Sept. 22-24) include: current status and trends in air-quality regulations; international air-quality protocols; global atmospheric issues; ecological and human risk assessment; market-based approaches versus command control; biomonitoring status and trends; air pollution control technologies; and the status of voluntary initiatives in Canada.

Papers presented from regulators, including ones from such environmental bell-wheter regions as California, may prove particularly useful, Ms. Novak suggests. Often such regions provide the cue for other jurisdictions to follow. For instance, conference participants may be want to gain insight as to whether, amid the trend toward deregulation, regulators are likely to set specific criteria for air quality or take more of a risk-based approach.

In conjunction with the main conference, CAPANS and A&WMA are sponsoring a two-day professional development training program (Sept. 20-21).

Paresh Thanawala, P.Eng., QEP, general conference chair and an active CAPANS and A&WMA member, says: "These training courses are carefully selected and designed to enhance professional development for environmental practioners involved in compliance and management of air issues."

The training courses will delve into five main areas:

The first four topics, says Mr. Thanawala, should prove of particular interest to professionals in the oil and gas, pipelines, and chemical manufacturing industries.

Commenting on the overall aims of the conference, like Ms. Novak, he also emphasized the multi-disciplinary nature of the gathering. It is critical, he said, "to avoid tunnel vision".

"One of our major objectives in hosting this conference is to promote a co-operative and multi-disciplinary approach among environmental professionals with various backgrounds in addressing the air issues. We all have different environmental backgrounds and contribute toward environmental protection based on our strengths and thinking. However, we must think and approach environmental issues, including air issues, in a multi-disciplinary approach, by understanding views and approaches of other disciplines and the impact of environmental contaminants on all environmental media - namely air, water and land."

Complementing the conference will be an exhibition (Sept. 22-23) of environmental services and products:

For more information about the exhibition, conference and training courses, please contact: Patricia Miller at 403-233-0748 in Calgary.

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