Cebu News

Cebu air quality now ‘unhealthy’

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Environment Management Bureau (EMB) - 7 is calling on the public to take safety precautions and wear protective gear as it announced that the air quality in Cebu has reached an “unhealthy level.”

This is reportedly due to the hazy weather condition experienced here caused by the forest fire in Indonesia, which is enhanced by habagat.

“We encourage the public to take safety measures and wear personal protective equipment (PPEs) such as dust mask or eye goggles to protect themselves from air pollutants," EMB-7 said in a statement.

The haze can reportedly cause air pollution, which can bring about health risks for respiratory tract infections and cardiac ailments.

The bureau’s real time monitoring data on PM 2.5 showed a reading of 56 micrograms per normal cubic meter, which is above the safe guideline value of 50 micrograms per normal cubic meter.

A PM 2.5 is a particulate matter or a dust particle measuring 2.5 micrometers in diameter (about 3% the diameter of a human hair).

EMB-7 said since it is so small and light, PM 2.5 tend to stay longer in the air than heavier particles. This increases the chances of humans and animals inhaling them into the bodies and might bypass the nose and throat and penetrate deep into the lungs. Some may even enter the circulatory system.

EMB-7 advised that if one has no business outdoors, he should stay indoors and try to keep windows and doors closed. It is also not advisable to jog or run outside as the body ingests more pollutants when active.

Haze is defined as an atmospheric phenomenon in which dust, smoke, and other dry particulates obscure the clarity of the sky.

According to blissair.com, one may experience the following adverse effects of haze, depending on how sensitive the person is:

• Irritated eyes, watering eyes, and/or conjunctivitis (a type of eye inflammation);

• Runny nose, stuffy nose, sneezing, and/or post-nasal drip;

• Throat irritation, dry throat, sore throat and/or coughing;

• Headache, dizziness and/or fatigue;

• Decreased lung function, depressed respiratory immune defenses, chest pain, and/or bronchitis (lung inflammation);

• Diarrhea and/or stomach upset, if drinking water sources are contaminated by dense haze and the water is consumed without further treatment;

• Anxiety, stress and/or depression-like symptoms such as insomnia, feelings of helplessness, loss of interest in daily activities and irritability.

These symptoms are reportedly usually mild and will subside when one stays indoors and limit exposure to haze. JMO (FREEMAN)

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