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Legarda Stresses Need to Address Air Pollution in PHL Cities

May 16, 2014

Senator Loren Legarda today expressed concern over reports citing pollution findings in Philippine cities and renewed her call for the government’s strengthened effort to address the causes of air pollution especially in urban areas.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, noted that the World Health Organization’s Ambient Air Pollution Study for 2014, which they based in the 2010 Clean Air Initiative Study, showed that the air quality in Baguio City, Manila and Cebu City are the most polluted in the country.

“Air quality is not an abstract environmental statistic but involves the welfare of the people. Increased levels of these pollutants in the air can cause respiratory ailments,” she said.

According to the WHO study, Baguio, a favorite vacation spot, had the highest presence of Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) at 49 micrograms per cubic meter, while Manila and Cebu City both recorded PM 2.5 concentration of 22 micrograms per cubic meter. The WHO guideline values for particulate matter is 10 micrograms per cubic meter of PM 2.5.

“The report was based on the 2010 Clean Air Initiative Study and whether the air quality in these areas have improved or worsened, we must continue to promote programs that would improve the air quality in the country, especially in congested urban areas and business districts where industrial emissions and motor vehicle exhaust are high,” said Legarda.

The Senator proposed that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) partner with telecommunications companies to spread information from the agency’s monitoring stations that measure the air pollution level.

“We encourage our telecommunications companies to help in our information and education campaign as part of their corporate social responsibility. In partnership with the DENR, our telcos can help text blast information on air quality per city so that not only local governments but also our citizens can keep track of the air pollution level in their communities and support programs to improve air quality,” Legarda said.

“This issue further calls for strengthened initiatives towards environment protection, including growing trees, maintaining forest parks, protecting watersheds, using of clean and alternative fuel, and using environment-friendly modes of transportation such as walking and cycling whenever possible. Most important of all, the Clean Air Act must be fully and faithfully implemented,” Legarda concluded.