DENR includes monitoring of smaller air pollution particles
Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - January 9, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — To protect the health of Filipinos from particle pollution, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said it is working to make air quality monitoring more comprehensive by including Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5, or finer particles that are 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter.

PM2.5 is a fine particle found in smoke and haze, and can be directly emitted from sources such as forest fires, or can form when gases are emitted from power plants, industries and vehicles, and react in the air. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs, and cause serious health problems.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said, “An administrative order is underway to make air quality monitoring more inclusive. This will guarantee that the public is informed and protected from the effects of air pollution by developing the breakpoints of air quality index for PM 2.5.”

Compared to total suspended particulates (TSP) and PM10, PM2.5 is small in size, which allows them to stay in the air longer and travel farther, and can pass through the body’s smaller airways deeper into the lungs, leading to respiratory and circulatory diseases, cancer and brain damage.

The DENR added it already took steps to intensify efforts in monitoring air and water quality in various parts of the country.

In line with the implementation of Republic Act 8749, or the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999, Cimatu said a total of 101 air quality monitoring stations are already operational across the country.

These stations measure pollutants such as TSP, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Cimatu said the DENR also monitored the emissions of 14,538 firms out of the annual target of 15,989.

The DENR chief said that aside from Manila Bay and Boracay, the agency made sure that all other water bodies are protected pursuant to the provisions of RA 9275, or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.

“If we can rehabilitate Boracay and Manila Bay, we can give the same protection to all water bodies in the country by strictly adhering to our annual target and even going beyond it,” Cimatu said.

               

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