South Korean Researchers to Visit Barnstable for 2nd Straight Year

COURTESY OF THE BARNSTABLE COUNTY REGIONAL EMERGENCY PLANNING COMMITTEE: South Korean researchers visiting Barnstable to learn hazardous materials management procedures in June of 2016. A second team return to Cape Cod July 21.

BARNSTABLE – South Korean researchers will come to Cape Cod this month to pick up where another delegation from the country left off last summer.

Researchers from the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology, or KITECH, will meet with Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment officials to further learn about managing hazardous materials.

South Korea is looking to modernize regulations and handling of the materials and are studying U.S. emergency planning and using the 1986 Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act as a model.

Last year the researchers from the Wonjin Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health met with the Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee.

The committee presented a general overview of its role in both dealing with hazardous materials and general emergency planning for all hazards.

“Last year they seemed more focused on how I was able to gain the compliance numbers that I have. They wanted to know methods, outreach, collaborations with different departments, like fire departments or different town agencies or business owners,” said Amy Alati, the county’s emergency preparedness project assistant. “This year they are more focused on the actual practices and preparations to respond to chemical incidences and how we take the data that we glean and put that into practice on Cape Cod.”

The Korean delegation will be in the state for a week and will visit Barnstable during the afternoon on July 21.

Alati said the researchers will take what they learn from the interviews and discussions and compare the procedures to what is currently done in South Korea and make changes where they are needed.

Alati said having more researchers come back to learn more is a testament to the work being done to deal with hazardous materials on Cape Cod.

“It’s a true professional honor and a privilege to have an elite panel, of what are South Korea’s distinguished researchers, travel half-way around the world to learn about my work for a second time,” she said. “This doesn’t happen to me everyday.”

Alati said the visit also emphasizes the movement around the world to take care of the environment.

“I think that it’s just advancing the universal message that when we have large industry, which South Korea does, when we have multiple entities here that store large quantities of chemicals it’s our legal and environmental and ethical duty to find ways to advance our programs to protect our local environments,” she said. “They are just taking it a step further. They are finding out about programs that go on in the United States and they are looking to adapt these to further their agenda.”

The twelve member South Korean panel is based out of Seoul and is made up of professors of environmental health and safety and engineering from several universities, consultants from environmental science and health and business leaders.


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