Cebu is second 'most polluted'
() - August 17, 2006 - 12:00am
If you think the air stinks, your sense of smell is just working.

This is because Cebu City is the second most polluted city in the entire Philippines. Incidentally, our country is also the second most polluted among eight members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-7 said it may soon be unsafe to breath the air in Cebu and the Philippines during the Kapihan sa PIA yesterday. At the same time, they pushed for an all out support from all stakeholders to the Green Philippine Highway program of the government.

Isagani Montejo, Forestry Development Division regional technical director, said that as of the most recent Air Quality Survey, the Philippines is only second to Indonesia in the region.

Montejo furnished The FREEMAN a copy of the data from the DENR Secretary, which quoted an article from Time Magazine's April 2006 issue.

According to the data, the world is at its "tipping point" wherein various activities of modern man have been accelerating the global warming to the extent of changing climate patterns and endangering all forms of life.

These have brought the planet near the point where it may no longer be possible to repair and regenerate.

The data also showed that though there are already some major Asian cities, which are focusing on addressing pollution to improve the quality of life, no Philippine city was cited for any such environmental initiative.

According to the data, 70 percent of the pollutants, particularly carbon dioxide are contributed by motor vehicles while the remaining 30 percent come from fuel burning fixed facilities and area experts.

Cebu Province, which has the most vehicles among the 79 provinces outside of Metro Manila, is unsurprisingly ranked as the 2nd with the most polluted air followed by cities of Davao and Cagayan de Oro. Metro Manila is the most polluted.

In terms of forestry, Cebu is way below the normal symbiotic ratio of land devoted for timber and trees to land devoted for other uses such as agricultural, urban and industrial.

Ted Barral, chief of Forest Resources Division, said that a balance environment should have 46 percent of the total land area devoted for timber and forestry while 56 percent will be for other uses.

This is the reason why DENR's tree planting initiative is focused in the areas where these pollutants are concentrated, the Philippine Highways and main thoroughfares.

DENR Regional Executive Director Celso Loriega, Jr. said, a single tree can sequester .56 metric tons of carbon dioxide in its lifetime or an equivalent of 10 cars for every tree.

Loriega said, the implementation of the Green Philippine Highway is closely coordinated with the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of National Defense and the Department of Education.

The whole project covers 2,580 kilometers of nautical highway and the minimum requirement is 516,000 seedlings and saplings. - Ferliza C. Contratista

AIR QUALITY SURVEY ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH EAST ASIAN NATIONS CEBU AND THE PHILIPPINES CEBU CITY CEBU PROVINCE DAVAO AND CAGAYAN DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE AND THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS GREEN PHILIPPINE HIGHWAY METRO MANILA
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