Fireworks worsen air pollution in MM – DENR

Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - January 3, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The New Year’s Eve revelry welcoming 2014 has increased the level of pollutants in the air in Metro Manila, way beyond the “healthful” levels set by the government and the World Health Organization, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said yesterday.

The average reading for particulate matter 10 microns and below in diameter (PM10) in Metro Manila on Jan. 1, 2014 was 1,437 micrograms per normal cubic meter of air, as compared with the average reading taken on Jan. 1, 2013 measured at 537 ug/Ncm, DENR Secretary Ramon Paje said.

“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,” he said.

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

He expressed strong support for the proposal of the Department of Health (DOH) 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 can easily enter the lungs and damage the respiratory system. They also emit smoke that contains sulphur compounds, heavy metals and harmful fumes that could affect people with asthma and other ailments.

The effects of firecrackers on the environment include making bodies of water acidic, depleting nutrients in the soil and affecting the diversity of ecosystems.

DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH JAN METRO MANILA NCM NEW YEAR PAJE QUEZON CITY SECRETARY RAMON PAJE TAGUIG CITY
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