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In an aim to eradicate the dependence on single-use plastics in the Philippines, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) together with different agencies and institutions have joined forces to find better alternatives to these products while also providing solutions and opportunities to industries.

Hosted by the DOST -Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), the Joint Conference on Environment-Friendly Alternative Plastics is a pioneering effort to address the single-use plastic problem through a whole-of-government approach in dealing with the issue.  

In collaboration with the Department of Finance (DOF), Climate Change Commission (CCC), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the government agencies seek to provide alternatives to single-use plastics in the market and accelerate the search for substitutes through research and development.  

“We need to move forward and find a more environmentally sustainable alternative to plastic and by stepping up our efforts through research and development as well as a whole of government approach, I believe that we can achieve this,” DOST Secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña said.  

DOF Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez, who is concurrent CCC Chairperson-Designate, has stressed the urgency of adopting a national policy banning single-use plastics as the Philippines' concrete contribution to the global effort to stop the unbridled plastics pollution of the world's oceans.

Dominguez has described as a "national shame" the results of an international study that put seven of our country's rivers on the Top 10 list of plastic polluters of oceans.

“We need to be innovative and creative. It is high time for the government, industries, businesses, and advocates to work together to develop better alternatives. By not consuming plastics, our people will be able to do their part on a daily basis in saving the world’s environment,” Dominguez said.

Studies show that plastics continue to be a pervasive material in the country,  being a “sachet economy” that utilizes  the “tingi”  retail system employed in the market. Plastic is  mainly used in grocery stores, as packaging material, in construction,  and a lot more due to it being cheap, strong, and extremely versatile.

Members of the industry who make use of single-use plastics also joined the conference to air their side and explain the significance of such products,  and how alternatives will impact the market and the lives of those who depend on their use.

As part of resolving the issues on plastics, DOST-PCIEERD also unveiled various DOST R&D Initiatives for the Green Economy. 

DOST Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit has expressed his support for a harmonized pursuit in protecting the environment through research, development, and innovations.

"As we gear towards achieving environmental sustainability by substituting single-use plastics with ecologically neutral alternatives, we shall put out more efforts to collaborate with our partners in government, the academe and the industry to ensure that we will come up with viable solutions to address the challenges brought by single-plastics use," he said.

 

SCIENCE COMMUNICATION FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM 

DOST-PCIEERD, in partnership with UPLB College of Development Communication, calls on its project personnel to join the Science Communication Fellowship Program: Popularizing Research for the People. This program aims to train the participants in popularizing research results through a mentorship program. 

The following topics will be covered in a four-month long mentorship:  

  1. Science communication in the context of nation building through research and innovation 
  2. Writing in different platforms for dissemination of research results 
  3. Engaging with the media and local stakeholders 
  4. Data visualization 

The program will employ a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions for at least eight (8) hours a month. The Fellowship Program will run from mid-September 2021 to January 2022.

To qualify, you must be a:  

  • Part of a PCIEERD-supported program/project with remaining duration/contract of at least six (6) months 
  • Personnel from completed projects may opt to join provided that the project is still being sustained in their organization 
  • A Technical Officer and Information Officer for the program/project 

Read the full Guidelines

Apply now! Go to bit.ly/PCIEERDxCDCSciComm

 

Towns and cities majorly affected by the continued restiveness of Taal Volcano would soon receive a helping hand as researchers from the University of the Philippines Diliman are set to deploy air quality monitors in their area.

Robust Optical Aerosol Monitor (ROAM) Air Quality Monitor units from Project ROAM is set to be deployed to the communities of Agoncillo in the Province of Batangas and Tagaytay and Alfonso in the Province of Cavite.

ROAM Air Quality Monitor, the first Filipino-made air quality monitor, was created to measure particulate matter in the air using mass concentration measurement. Through the leadership of Dr. Len Herald V. Lim, the group was able to develop high-quality PM 2.5 monitors that are low-cost compared to its commercial counterparts. 

It was designed specifically to look for ways to reduce the effects of air pollution in communities and workplaces and was developed in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD). 

ROAM which was initially developed to provide information for policy creation and programs for environmental protection, can now aid residents from the three Local Government Units (LGUs). 

According to Levi Guillermo L. Geganzo of Project ROAM, they are currently discussing the plan to deploy the units with the three LGUs. The researchers are also in talks with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) to help them with their regular monitoring.

Geganzo also said that while there are already many interested organizations to adopt their technology, the team is still working on their commercialization strategy.

DOST PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit lauded the move of the group and encouraged other local government units to partner with ROAM in putting up air quality monitors in their area.  

“We thank the Project ROAM team for heeding the call of the times and making innovations work for the people.  As a leader and partner in enabling innovations in the Philippines, we enjoin our local government units to collaborate with our researchers in finding solutions in making our air cleaner through technologies brought about by research and development,” he said.

 

Urgent cooperation between countries under the new normal has been called on by the Japan Science and Technology Agency during the 11th anniversary of the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development on Tuesday (June 29).

During a webinar with the theme: "From Labs to Lives: Building R & D Capacities and Opportunities for Sustainable Recovery", leading researchers, scientists, engineers (RSEs) to share their experiences, insights, opportunities, and importance of human resource development to foster S & T innovations towards sustainable recovery.  

Osamu Kobayashi, Director for International Affairs of JST, stressed in his message during DOST-PCIEERD's anniversary that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)  will not be the last disaster of a global scale and while "common challenges" are getting increasingly complicated, they cannot be solved alone.  

In his presentation, he shared one of the collaborative efforts between DOST and JST, the e-ASIA joint research program established in 2012.  
 
He personally thanked DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director Enrico Paringit and said that JST and DOST are one of the founding members of the program and have greatly contributed to the initiative as one of the most positive and active participants.

Other projects cited that was done in collaboration with JST were the "Development of Extreme Weather Monitoring and Information Sharing System in the Philippines” which led to the development of Diwata-1 and the “Enhancement of Earthquake and Volcano Monitoring and Effective Utilization of Disaster Mitigation Information in the Philippines” for the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) which was used as an early alert for the evacuation in the massive Taal volcano eruption in 2020. 

He mentioned how global and complicated challenges can only be addressed through collective actions, or through collaboration between academia, no matter which fields, the industries, the local and the central governments and country's people. 

"We should immediately react and take effective actions among like minded partners like JST and the DOST," Kobayashi said. 

He underscored the importance of trust on why and how the cooperation between the DOST and JST in times of emergency was made possible. Though trust, according to Kobayashi, cannot be achieved overnight and can only be gained step by step through honest behavior. 

Sharing a remark from a UK Research and Innovation executive, Kobayashi highlighted how concerted actions are necessary to achieve countries' common agendas, and that the funders who share common values, and interests to solve common challenges, should rather cooperate than complete. 

"We need to work together to tackle with our more complicated common challenges. We need to share our knowledge and learn best practices from each other. To do that, international cooperation is a must. So you have to have international perspectives," he said. 

"To work together, we need to build a good partnership. So to build a good partnership, we have to be trusted to get trust. We have to be always honest and diligent. If we are always honest and diligent, we can enhance your network, and our network to work together," he added. 

DOST PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit lauded Kobayashi's call and vowed to foster more cooperations both in the local and international scientific scene.  

"As a leader and partner in enabling innovations, we will continue to build meaningful collaborations across the different sectors of society and find solutions and opportunities to improve the lives of our fellow Filipinos," he said.

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WEBINAR SERIES SCHEDULE

July to December 2021

SIBOL is a webinar series that aims to create awareness of promising new projects and their potential impacts to the society according to their application sectors.

See the schedule below:

 

 Application Sector  Date
Disaster Risk Reduction - Climate Change Adaptation  15 July 2021 
Food Security 28 July 2021 
Human Development Industries (Creatives, Educational, Culture, etc.)  10 August 2021 
Technologies for the New Normal 26 August 2021  
Manufacturing and Processing  06 September 2021 
Infrastructures 05 October 2021 
Transportation 19 October 2021 
Environment 08 November 2021 
Startup Grant Fund Program (Register here)  19 November 2021, 1:30 pm 
Earth Resources/Mining (Register here)  23 November 2021, 9:00 am 
Energy (Register here) 07 December 2021, 9:00 am 

Want to receive updates? Register here: https://bit.ly/PCIEERD2021Webinars 

 

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