Air pol­lu­tion mars New Year

Sun.Star Pampanga - - OPINOIOPNINION -

Like in the pre­vi­ous years, air pol­lu­tion greeted the start of 2017. At 12 midnight, fire­works lighted up the sky and re­leased toxic fumes which will linger in the air for hours or days. Pol­lu­tion lev­els are dan­ger­ously high and many times over world health stan­dards.

Re­ports from DENR said that as of 12 a.m. of Jan­uary 1, the mon­i­tor­ing sta­tion at the De La Salle Univer­sity (DLSU) in Manila recorded a PM2.5 level of 448 mi­cro­grams per nor­mal cu­bic me­ter (ug/ Ncm), while pol­lu­tion lev­els in the cities of Paranaque, Taguig, Valen­zuela and Muntinlupa were 433, 324, 285 and 175 ug/ Ncm, re­spec­tively. As of 2 a.m. of the same day, the air qual­ity mon­i­tor­ing sta­tions in Pasig City and the Ate­neo de Manila Univer­sity in Que­zon City recorded PM2.5 lev­els of 397 and 369 ug/ Ncm, re­spec­tively.

The PM2.5 lev­els in the cities men­tioned fall un­der the cat­e­gory of ex­tremely danger­ous. The healthy guide­line val­ues for PM2.5 is only 25 ug/ Ncm an­nu­ally and 50 ug/ Ncm for 24-hour av­er­ag­ing. All sta­tions have reg­is­tered higher lev­els of PM2.5 com­pared to last year’s fes­tiv­i­ties. On reg­u­lar days, such as in the month of April 2015, PM2.5 read­ings in se­lected air qual­ity mon­i­tor­ing sta­tions are gen­er­ally lower val­ues: DLSU with 7 to 182 ug/ Ncm ; Paranaque, 6 to 18 ug/Ncm; and Muntinlupa with 8 to 42 ug/ Ncm.

This sit­u­a­tion is not unique to the Philip­pines. In Bei­jing, China, pol­lu­tion climbed as high as 24 times the level rec­om­mended by the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion on New Year. More than 100 flights were can­celled and all in­ter­city buses were halted at the cap­i­tal’s air­port. In the neigh­bour­ing port city of Tian­jin, more than 300 flights were can­celled while the weather fore­cast warned thick smog will per­sist un­til 5 Jan­uary. In Mu­nich, Ger­many, par­tic­u­late lev­els briefly reached 26 times the EU-rec­om­mended daily limit of 50 mi­cro­grams of par­tic­u­lates per cu­bic me­ter of air.

Tiny par­ti­cles like PM 2.5, are small enough to by­pass the re­s­pi­ra­tory sys­tem’s de­fenses, get­ting into the lungs, where they can even pen­e­trate the blood­stream. Peo­ple who live in places where PM 2.5 is high have more heart at­tacks, de­pressed lung func­tion, worse asthma, and over­all die younger than peo­ple who breathe clean air.

Fire­works are sup­posed to drive away bad spir­its. But it seems it is do­ing the ex­act op­po­site.

***** Speak­ing of air pol­lu­tion, I was in­formed by a con­cerned cit­i­zen about the burn­ing of garbage in the plush sub­di­vi­sions of An­ge­les City. Ac­cord­ing to the in­for­mant, some res­i­dents in Villa Teresa and Villa An­gelina are burn­ing their garbage to the detri­ment of their neigh­bors and the en­vi­ron­ment. This prac­tice was al­ready de­clared il­le­gal by two en­vi­ron­men­tal laws.

Sec­tion 48 of RA 9003 or the eco­log­i­cal and Solid Waste Man­age­ment Act of 2000 pro­hibits the open burn­ing of solid waste. Vi­o­la­tors can be fined from P300 to P1,000, or im­pris­oned from 1 to 15 days, or both. Sec­tion 13, Rule XXV of the Im­ple­ment­ing Rules and Reg­u­la­tions of RA 8749 or the Clean Air Act states that “no per­son shall be al­lowed to burn any ma­te­ri­als in any quan­ti­ties which shall cause the emis­sion of toxic and poi­sonous fumes”.

Call­ing the at­ten­tion of the CENRO of An­ge­les City, kindly look into this in­for­ma­tion sir.

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