New Year’s revelry worsens air pollution in Metro Manila

(The Philippine Star) - January 5, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - This year’s revelry welcoming 2014 has worsened air pollution in Metro Manila way beyond the healthful guideline value set by the government and the World Health Organization.

According to Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje, the average reading for particulate matter with size of 10 microns and below in diameter or PM10 in Metro Manila on Jan. 1, 2014 was 1,437 ug/Ncm  (micrograms per normal cubic meter of air), as compared with the average reading last year (Jan. 1, 2013) measured at 537 ug/Ncm.

“The maximum hourly level of PM10 recorded in the two air quality monitoring stations in Quezon City was 1,990 ug/Ncm at the Ateneo area in Katipunan, and 1,450 ug/Ncm measured at 1 a.m. at the EDSA-Timog area, followed by 1,160 ug/Ncm measured at 1 a.m. in Valenzuela City, and  1,150 ug/Ncm measured at 4 a.m. in Taguig City,” Paje said. 

Paje said all these hourly maximum levels enormously exceeded the air quality guideline value of 150 ug/Ncm. 

The DENR chief expressed strong support to the proposal of the health department to limit the use of fireworks and firecrackers as a community activity in designated areas only.

“While the DOH proposal is to reduce the impact of firecrackers on people, this will also benefit the environment in terms of reducing air pollution as the DENR could help in finding the right places for the activity,” Paje said. 

 When burned, firecrackers release a large amount of tiny toxic particles that could easily enter the lungs and damage the respiratory system.  It also emits smoke that contains sulphur compounds, heavy metals and harmful fumes that could affect people with asthma and other ailments. 

The impact of firecrackers on the environment, include making bodies of water acidic, depleting nutrients in soil and could affect the diversity of the ecosystem. 

Paje  emphasized that while the DENR is the government agency responsible for the implementation of Republic Act 8749, or the Clean Air Act, other key government agencies as well as strong public support are key to success in reducing air pollution to government set standards.

AIR CLEAN AIR ACT ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES SECRETARY RAMON J JAN METRO MANILA NCM PAJE QUEZON CITY REPUBLIC ACT TAGUIG CITY
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