‘How clean or dirty is Cebu City’s air?’
Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) - January 26, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Cebu City Councilor Alvin Dizon wants the Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CCENRO) and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) to appear before the City Council to apprise them on the prevailing air quality of the city, and its associated health risks as well as the current air quality monitoring initiatives being undertaken.

The council has approved Dizon’s resolution, and the two departments are expected to attend the Citizen's Hour on the council's regular session on February 5.

“While we cannot totally eliminate air pollution given that this is one of the realities of rapid urbanization, we can at least make investments to lower the levels of air pollution in our city to improve the cardiovascular, respiratory and mental health of our people, both in the short and long run,” said Dizon.

He added it has been established that air pollution is a major environmental risk to health.

He believes that through efforts in reducing air pollution levels, the burden of disease from stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic and acute respiratory diseases can also be reduced.

A recent study also suggests the link of air pollution to depression and mental health.

He cited air pollution as one of the risk factors for non-communicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases like heart attack and stroke, chronic respiratory diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, and diabetes, which is why improving air quality is essential in protecting public health.

He said that improving outdoor air quality demands concerted action by local and national government, non-government and the private sector working in transport, energy, waste management, urban planning, and agriculture.

“The role of local government is key especially on crafting policies and programs that would help reduce air pollution,” said Dizon.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year. Data shows that nine out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants.

WHO further noted that "more than 80 percent of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels that exceed WHO guideline limits, with low- and middle-income countries suffering from the highest exposures, both indoors and outdoors."  GAN (FREEMAN)

CEBU AIR
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