PH’s first air quality monitors to be deployed to Taal-affected communities

The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) bared on Monday, July 12, the deployment of locally made air quality monitors to communities affected by Taal’s unrest in provinces of Batangas and Cavite.

Roam Technology (Photo from DOST-PCIEERD)

The DOST-PCIEERD said researchers from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman are expected to deploy Robust Optical Aerosol Monitor (ROAM) Air Quality Monitor units from Project ROAM to local government units (LGUs) in Agonciloo, Batangas, and Tagaytay and Alfonso in Cavite.

“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,” it said in a statement on Monday.

The Council noted that ROAM Air Quality Monitor is the first Filipino-made air quality monitor created by the project team, led by Dr. Len Herald V. Lim, to measure particulate matter in the air using mass concentration measurement.

It said the locally developed high-quality aerosol monitors 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 DOST-PCIEERD,” it added.

It said the residents from three LGUs will be aided by ROAM which was initially developed to provide information for policy creation and programs for environmental protection.

Levi Guillermo L. Geganzo of Project ROAM said the planned deployment of the air quality monitors are currently being discussed. The team is in talks with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) to help them with their regular monitoring, the Council said.

“Currently, ROAM is exploring the creation of a spin-off company through DOST-PCIEERD’s Funding Assistance for Spinoff and Translation of Research in Advancing Commercialization (FASTRAC) program to help advance the commercialization of their technology,” it said.

Geganzo said they are in “the process of asking more organizations to use ROAM for free for a year, in line with the requirement for the FASTRAC grant.”

DOST PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit cited the group’s effort, even as he urged LGUs to forge partnership 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.