MBT – Environmental Engineer


My name is Andrea Sosa Pintos.
I’m 32 years old. And I am an
environmental engineer. An environmental engineer is a person who works using
chemistry, physics or
mathematics to give a solution to different
problems in the environment. For example, finding ways
of recycling material, disposing hazardous waste. I work at CSIRO, the division
of industrial physics. As an environmental engineer, my work consists of treating
contaminated soil samples using a technique called
‘high-powered ultrasound’. We are using ultrasonic waves, which are sound waves
that human beings cannot hear, because they are travelling
at a higher frequency than the human hearing. When they are travelling
through a liquid they create tiny
bubbles that burst and completely destroy all the
nasty chemicals present in the
soil. Soil contamination is a very
serious problem nowadays. I am convinced that we have to put all our
resources to fix this problem. My Bachelor degree was actually
in Chemical Engineering. So there I learned about
different chemical industries and also about all the damage that different chemicals
can do into the environment. After I learned all that, I decided that it
was better for me to put my efforts
into finding a solution for all these
environmental problems. And that’s how I decided to do
a Masters degree in environmental engineering. The main personal skills
used in my job are strong analytical skills. You also need to
identify problems and be able to put pieces
of science together to find what’s the best solution
available for that problem. When I am working in the lab,
most of the time I work by
myself, setting up the equipment,
preparing the soil samples to be
treated and then performing
the treatment. Once we realised that the
experiments inside the lab were
working properly, we decided that we had to take
this into a bigger scale, and that’s how we started
designing the pilot plan so we could treat
larger quantities of soil. The important part of the
ultrasonic technology we are
using to clean up contaminated soils is that it’s
a completely green process. I am really excited
about seeing results and realising that, hopefully,
in the near future, we will be able to
bring a solution to very serious environmental
problem as soil contamination. There are plenty
of contaminated sites, not only in Australia
but also all around the world, and, by having commercial units, we will be able to make
available this technology for
everybody. At the moment there is a huge
demand for chemical engineers and also for
environmental engineers. For chemical engineers mainly
because the industry is growing
a lot in Australia, and for environmental engineers because all the environmental
problems. Soil contamination is not
something that we can see, but it’s definitely something
that can be very harmful for us. In the same way I enjoy
cleaning up the environment, I also like to take some time
off and clean my mind by doing
some yoga. Yoga gives me the energy
and the focus that I need to start each day
in a positive way and finding new ways
of cleaning up the planet. I’m really happy with my job and
I’m really enjoying what I’m
doing, so we’ll see what
the future will bring.

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