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Searching for pollution in the Caribbean
Date:5/5/2009

e sample collection and over 20 more in data processing and interpretation," she said.

This core of well-trained scientists forms the regional network of individuals, institutes and laboratories that are actively collaborating - sharing information, expertise and existing capabilities in the participating countries.

"For example," Dr. Gerardo-Abaya pointed out, "laboratories in Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Spain and IAEA-MEL are supporting the analyses of samples taken from all 12 Caribbean countries."

The IAEA has furthermore provided substantial field and laboratory equipment to the participating Member States in the Caribbean.

"This would allow these countries to collect samples and analyze certain elements important for the project like lead-210, caesium-137, for sediment dating; and pollutants like heavy metals, hydrocarbons and pesticides," she explained.

"We train the scientists (in the region) to collect, prepare and analyze the samples," Dr. Joan-Albert Sanchez-Cabeza added. "If they do not have the means to analyze for a specific substance, we either provide the means or ask them to send the samples to other laboratories in the region."

"So it is actually a network that is already working - about 15-16 laboratories are continuously collaborating with each other, sending samples and meeting with one another. It is actually a very successful project," he said.

A Regional Approach

In early March 2009, the main counterparts of countries participating in the project RLA/7/012, as well as representatives of Spain, GEF, UNEP, and the IAEA, met in Panama to review the overall status of the project. The review meeting assessed progress made so far and plotted next steps ahead. With its recent field sampling in Puerto Cortes, Honduras became the 9th country to provide core sediment samples, some of them with support from regional experts. These samples have been processed and currently being
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Contact: Rodolfo Quevenco
r.quevenco@iaea.org
43-126-002-1287
International Atomic Energy Agency
Source:Eurekalert

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