Five Things I Learned During My Internship at EMC

Niran Bissu is a third-year Environmental Studies student at the University of Guyana (UG). He joined the EMC internship program in 2022 and primarily worked with the Environmental Monitoring and Compliance team. Aside from studying, Niran enjoys playing cricket and table tennis. He played in the Guyana Under-17 National Team and is currently part of the Guyana Table Tennis National Team. Niran is passionate about the environment, and spends most of his time outdoors, enjoying Guyana’s unique ecosystems, and all they have to offer.

I am privileged to live in a country with rich ecosystems and unique biodiversity, from the abundant forests, rivers, wetlands, mangroves, savannah, vast ocean, and mountains. I chose to study the environment because I wanted to understand how it works and learn how best to contribute to its protection.

While at university, I gained theoretical knowledge on critical aspects of the environment, like environmental health, climate change, and environmental policy and governance. At EMC, I had the opportunity to participate in projects that apply the theory I earned at UG. Seeing how they work together to sustainably manage the environment was eye-opening. I learned a lot at EMC, but the following five lessons stood out:

  • Health and Safety: I realised the importance of health and safety in conducting all activities, especially field work. Before each field visit, I helped prepare a Job Hazard Analysis to identify any hazards associated with the tasks to be carried out and put in place measures to mitigate them to make each team member as safe as possible. This is key while working in the environmental field to prevent injury or other incidents while on the job.
  • Environmental Policy and Regulations: I have a better understanding of the policy, legislative and institutional framework relating to environmental management of industrial and development activities. I was guided by the team on the key policies, strategies and plans, and legislation put in place by the Government of Guyana to guide development activities and how they apply to each project.
  • Environmental Compliance Monitoring: The most exciting part of my internship was learning about the different monitoring equipment and using them in the field. I learnt how to measure noise levels using the noise meter, monitor air particles and gases using the particulate matter and gas meters, and test water samples using water quality meters.
  • Reporting: I helped develop reports informed by environmental policy, regulations, and site visit findings, including the analysis of data collected from the environmental monitoring, identifying areas for improvement, and recommending corrective actions to be implemented.
  • Teamwork: Compliance monitoring involves many moving parts, including planning, coordination, sample collection, testing, client briefing, photography, mapping, observation, analysis, and report writing. I learned how important good communication and teamwork are in conducting successful field visits and delivering environmental services efficiently.

The skills I have learned and the knowledge I am taking away are immeasurable. The internship has broadened my career horizons while simultaneously narrowing the direction I wish to take. Compliance work is one to look at, as I want to play an active role in taking our society down a sustainable path.

From Left: Niran Testing Water Samples, Measuring Noise Levels and Collecting Water Samples in The Field as Part of His Internship Program at EMC.

The Internship Program is part of EMC’s collaboration with the University of Guyana to provide training and learning opportunities for students interested in working in the environmental field.