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Aussie instruments in battle to clean up the air

Two potent Australian-designed weapons have joined the worldwide battle against city air pollution and the growing threat of lung disease.

Melbourne-based environmental equipment firm, Ecotech Pty Ltd, has so far exported state-of-the-art rainwater samplers and atmospheric particle samplers developed by CSIRO to environmental protection agencies, consultants and industry in 17 countries.

CSIRO Atmospheric Research designed and developed both samplers. Ecotech sells them under licence to CSIRO, with royalties flowing back to research.

"We designed the rainwater sampler in the early 1990s," says Dr Greg Ayers, from CSIRO Atmospheric Research.

"We needed the sampler for our research tracking acid rain and acidic particles in the air in Australia and overseas," Dr Ayers says.

The CSIRO rainwater sampler accurately records rainfall and collects and stores rainwater for subsequent chemical analyses. The device is designed to run unattended in remote locations.

"CSIRO developed the versatile particle sampler for measuring fine particles in air outdoors and indoors. We are especially interested in these fine particles because we know that they are the most damaging to human health," says Dr Ayers.

CSIRO has used the samplers in a study of indoor and outdoor particle levels in air in Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle and country regions of New South Wales.

"CSIRO has identified a number of areas where there is a clear need for sophisticated, versatile environmental monitors. Our relationship with CSIRO has been very strong and positive," says Ecotech Marketing Manager Mr Steve Chamberlain-Ward.

"Sales of the particle sampler continue to take off, especially to industry wishing to track its own environmental performance. This is likely to be a very popular product," says Mr Chamberlain-Ward.

Ecotech has sold rainwater samplers throughout Asia and to Europe and South America. More than 60 particle samplers have been sold in the USA, UK, Portugal, Mexico and Korea.

More information: Greg Ayers (03) 9239 4687
e-mail: greg.ayers@dar.csiro.au

See also www.australia.org.nz

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