Smoke and haze: ‘Smaze’ over Cebu
Kristine B. Quintas (The Freeman) - October 23, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Smaze, or a mixture of smoke and haze, has been observed by the state weather bureau blanketing the skies in most parts of Central Visayas.

Engineer Oscar Tabada, Director of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration-Visayas, said there is light to moderate smaze hovering over the region based on their hourly observation and monitoring.

Engineer Oscar Tabada, Director of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration-Visayas, said there is light to moderate smaze hovering over the region based on their hourly observation and monitoring.

PAGASA attributed the smaze to the monsoon winds blowing southwest intensified by typhoon Lando that hit Philippines over the weekend. He added it is expected to dissipate once the prevailing wind shifts to northeast.

Alfredo Quiblat, chief meteorologist of PAGASA-Mactan, said for the last two days hazy atmosphere has been observed here.

He said below five kilometers of visibility was noted yesterday, which is a manifestation of haze. When Metro Cebu has good visibility, the mountains of Cebu City, approximately 10 kilometers away from PAGASA-Mactan station, can still be seen clearly.

He said smoke from the Indonesia wildfires can travel thousands of miles impacting weather, climate and air quality. He cited as an example smoke from Canadian wildfires travelled over 4,000 miles to Europe.

He added PAGASA stations in Davao, Cagayan and Palawan have also reported “thick” presence of haze hovering over their areas.

Tests

However, the Environmental Management Bureau-7 is still conducting Ambient Air Quality Monitoring to validate claims that smaze has reached Cebu.

The technical group of EMB, an attached bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, was deployed yesterday morning and Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Section chief Cindylyn Pepito led the collection and examination of air samples.

DENR-7 spokesman Eddie Llamedo said EMB took samples from Metro Cebu for the presence of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.             He said the collection of samples is done every four hours “to get the progress or status of NO2 and SO2 concentration.”

“We confirmed it in some parts in Mindanao already through our EMB counterpart there, but we still have to collect samples here in Metro Cebu first,” he said.

Ailments

Haze can cause air pollution which can bring about increased risks of respiratory tract infections and cardiac ailments, according to the Department of Health. With this DOH called on the public to take precautionary measures, especially those with respiratory problems.

The agency said elderly and children and those with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases need to stay indoors with good ventilation until an advisory is released that the air in the city is already safe to breathe.

This was also DENR’s advice pending the result of the air quality sampling.

“Although we are still awaiting for the results, we advise the public not to stay longer in any outdoor activities and lessen prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion. Those who are sick especially the elderly and children should stay indoors,” Llamedo said.

DOH said that wearing of dust masks is appropriate when going outside the house. People are also asked to refrain from physical activities in heavily polluted areas. — /BRP (FREEMAN)

ACIRC AIR ALFREDO QUIBLAT AMBIENT AIR QUALITY MONITORING AMBIENT AIR QUALITY MONITORING SECTION CAGAYAN AND PALAWAN DIRECTOR OF THE PHILIPPINE ATMOSPHERIC ENGINEER OSCAR TABADA GEOPHYSICAL AND ASTRONOMICAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION-VISAYAS METRO CEBU NBSP
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