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Award winning efforts by EPA’s Science and Technical Air Section

The EPA’s Air Section, Science and Technical Branch, continues to receive recognition for its innovation and achievements in air quality monitoring.

Head of the Air Section, Bob Hyde (Air Specialist) and Air Section staff member John Innis (Senior Scientific Officer) both received awards recently from the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand (CASANZ). Bob Hyde was recognised individually with the Werner Strauss Clean Air Achievement Award from the Victorian/Tasmanian branch of CASANZ for his outstanding contribution to the field of air quality, and John Innis received an innovation award for developing a relatively small, inexpensive and mobile air monitoring station nicknamed ‘Travel HANkY’.

Bob who has been with the Scientific and Technical Branch of the EPA for over ten years, has played a significant role in various initiatives and programs to measure and reduce air pollution levels in Tasmania. These include developing or contributing to various monitoring, modelling and industry-assessment programs concerning air quality such as: the Domestic Smoke Management Program; the Smoke Management Working Group; BLANkET (Base-Line Air Network of EPA Tasmania); Tasmania’s National Environmental Protection Measure (NEPM) air monitoring network; providing advice for industry regulation and development proposals; and contributing to the Air NEPM Peer Review Committee and Expert Working Group. He has contributed to and influenced the strategic directions of the scientific and policy aspects of air quality in Tasmania, and he has been a constant champion in representing the Air Section work to government, stakeholders, and the community.

John received the 'Innovation Award' for ‘Travel HANkY’ from CASANZ at its biennual conference in September. ‘Travel HANkY' is a trimmed down version of 'Travel BLANkET’. Both devices are the mobile offspring of the ‘BLANkET’ network of 34 fixed stations around the State, which measure indicative level ambient particles for PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations, along with meteorological data. The BLANkET program had previously won the Werner Strauss award in 2014. Travel BLANkET was developed to measure smoke levels associated with planned burns and winter-time domestic woodheaters at locations throughout the State, and has proved very useful to understand the concentration and distribution of domestic wood smoke in regional towns.

Travel HANkY was put together at a fraction of the cost of Travel BLANkET (ie compared with ) and was purpose designed as a low-cost option, potentially for use by Councils or other interested agencies. Development of Travel HANkY started it in 2015 and it was tested extensively in winter 2017 in Launceston. It is has been used effectively to produce smoke concentration maps for urban areas, and at a relatively low cost for technical equipment.

Both Bob and John acknowledge the excellent work by all the Air Section that has contrubuted to these awards. Congratulations to Bob and John, and the team, for their dedicated and committed work on air pollution in Tasmania.