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On behalf of the president of University of Technology-UOT (Prof. Dr. Ahmed Al-Gaban) and the direct supervision by Prof. Dr. Abdullhamed Al-Obaidy who is the director of Environmental Research Center (ERC), the department of environmental technology at ERC organized an international scientific symposium online using the ZOOM platform entitled (Environmental Changes After COVID-19) on 18/5/2020 at 4.00 p.m. This symposium was established by the organizing committee that included: Assist. Prof. Dr. Saleh Al-Bakery (head), Assist. Prof. Dr. Saher Amen (member), Mr. Emad Al-Deen Hateem (member) and Dr. Muhammed Taha (organizer). This symposium was electronically managed by Dr. Mukheled Hussien (head of scientific activity committee at ERC) as a coordinator with the assistance of Mrs. Zahraa Farhan (lecturer at ERC).

This symposium was held under the current circumstances of coronavirus pandemic, which is a major challenge at the levels of global and regional. In terms of the local level, the environmental changes after the impact of this pandemic was focused and covered for this purpose with three essential parts of this symposium, including environmental management, environmental pollution and ecosystem. The first lecturer (Prof. Dr. Ziyad Al-dhanki-lecturer in the department of animal production-college of agriculture-University of Al-Anbar-Iraq) gave a lecture within the first part entitled "Environmental Effects of the Poultry Industry" in which he addressed the impact of this industry on the environment and how it is managed and its relationship to the coronavirus pandemic at the current time. While the second lecturer (Dr. Hazem Abedalhammed- lecturer in the department of animal production-college of agriculture-University of Al-Anbar-Iraq) gave a lecture within the second part entitled "Pollution of High Euphrates Water: Reasons and Solutions" where he addressed the effect of water pollution on fish wealth and the consequences of coronavirus pandemic. Finally, Mrs. Amira Shaari (Master of Science in Biology-Malaysia) gave a lecture within the last part entitled "Lockdown and Its Impact on Air Quality During Pandemic Covid-19” in which she discussed the impact of lockdown in the period of coronavirus pandemic on the natural balance of the ecosystem.

After finishing the lectures, the participants were allowed to discuss, express opinions and dialogue with the lecturers, which finally led to establish a set of recommendations. These recommendations will be actively considered and announced later by the organizing committee of this symposium in order to improve the real situation of Iraqi environment.

As part of the cultural season of the Environmental Research Center

Mr. Abdulrahman Shakir Mahmood-Assist. lecturer in the Department of Environmental pollution-ERC presented a lecture online using the ZOOM platform on Tuesday, 19/5/2020 at 12:30 pm entitled “Health Impacts Resulting from Internal Combustion Engine Emissions for Transport Vehicles”. The lecturer stated that the internal combustion engines work on a basis of the principle of burning the fuel in the presence of an oxidizing agent such as air (oxygen is essential element in the combustion process) inside a combustion chamber that was designed and manufactured according to approved engineering and technical standards to be working with high temperatures and pressures. The combustion process produces hot gases under high pressure inside this chamber, generating mechanical movement in terms of mechanical work that is finally converted into continuous movement for operating the various types of transportation such as vehicles, trains, boats, ships, airplanes and others.

These gases include a wide range of pollutants in their nature such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, ozone, unburnt hydrocarbons, ozone and lead as well as black smoke and fine particles. These pollutants play a negative role according to many studies carried out in this regard in terms of their general impact on the environment such as global warming and acidic rain affecting biodiversity. Also, they have significant effects, particularly, on humans where they can cause many diseases including heart, respiratory disorders, headache, dizziness, inability to focus, irritation of eyes, suffocation, asthma and others.

The increase in population density played an important role in increasing the number of various types of transport vehicles, especially in the big cities, and thus contributing effectively to increase the levels of pollution as a result of using these vehicles. Therefore, the lecturer recommended the need to seriously search for other alternatives to traditional means of transportation such as using bicycles, activating water transport and daily running as a healthy sport. In addition, encouraging research in the field of improvement of fuel quality and following periodic maintenance for different types of vehicles to ensure their work to be optimal, and thus reducing the level of emissions to be minimum according to the approved environmental standards.

As part of the cultural season of the Environmental Research Center

Assist. Prof. Basim H. Faraj-lecturer in the Department of Sustainable Development-ERC presented a lecture online using the ZOOM platform on Tuesday, 12/5/2020 at 12:30 pm entitled “Autophagy and Sustainable Health”. The lecturer stated that autophagy can be defined as a natural regeneration process that occurs at a cellular level in the human body where the cells reject their damaged components like cytoplasm or unnecessary such as harmful proteins and consumed cells and others in order to renewing themselves and producing energy on a regular basis to maintain their vital functions.

 The concept of autophagy emerged in the 1960s when researchers for the first time monitored that the ability of cells to destroying their components. However, information about this concept remained limited until the Japanese scientist Yoshinori Osumi carried out many research and studies on yeast cells and then he was able to identify genetics of autophagy. Thus, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for that achievement.

The concept of autophagy has been being taken an important place in recent research and studies since it is believed to be vitally significant in helping to reduce the incidence of some diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, aging and others. Consequently, the lecturer recommended the necessity of continuing the concrete scientific research in this field and providing financial and technical supports to researchers to obtain the best results with respect to human health and its preservation within the framework of sustainable health.

Within the proposed program for Environmental Qualifying and Training Unit at the Environmental Research Center (ERC)- University of Technology for the current academic year (2019-2020) and in order to, enhance health and safety concepts in educational institutions generally and in the center particularly, this program was activated by implementing an online workshop using ZOOM platform. Dr. Mukheled Amer Hussien-lecturer in the Department of Environmental Pollution-ERC presented a lecture on Wednesday, 13/5/2020 at 9:30 pm entitled (Enhancement of Health and Safety Concepts in Educational Institutions).  

The lecturer stated through his experience gained during three years of continuous laboratory work in completing a PhD study in the UK that the concepts of health and safety are a principal requirement as a higher policy that is approved and applied from the university level down to the various departments in any faculty or school. In other words, the policy of any department in any faculty or school will essentially reflect that policy in its general lines. The department adopts the policy of health and safety and works to provide all necessary support for its implementation that ensures the safety of all workers in the department including the students of UG and PG (MSc and PhD), post-doctoral, faculty members, technical staff, administrative staff, visitors and others.

This policy was discussed from all aspects related to administrative and technical tasks in terms of the method of following-up, monitoring, inspection, risk assessment, waste management, and etc., according to scientific and applicable principles.

The lecturer recommended the need to take advantage of this experience aligning with the nature of work at the center in achieving health and safety concepts for the work forces in it. Many work teams were formed according to their specialization and interest to express each opinion in this field, so that we can make a guide book for laboratory dealing in the center.

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