Philippines Works for Clean Air

The government has gained ground in the fight for cleaner air as Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje reported that the quality of air in Metro Manila has “considerably improved.”

Citing data gathered from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Paje revealed that the level of air pollution in the metropolis for the first six months of the Aquino administration, or during the second half of 2010, was reduced by 20 percent.

In 2009, Paje said the level of total suspended particulates (TSP) in Metro Manila was at 130 micrograms per normal cubic meters (?g/Ncm), or 44 percent more than the standard of 90 ?g/Ncm.

For the first half of 2010, air pollution worsened to a level of 166 ?g/Ncm, or 84 percent beyond the standard. But during the second semester of 2010, the TSP level declined to 133 ?g/Ncm. Paje said that while the recorded TSP level remains still above the standard, it showed “significantly better air quality.” Seventy percent of air pollution in Metro Manila is attributed to vehicular emissions.

Paje attributed the improvement in the air quality to an invigorated partnership with other government agencies, such as the Land Transportation Office, the Metro Manila Development Authority, local government units, civil society and the private sector. In particular, he noted the partnership in the effort to rid Edsa of smoke belchers, including taking pictures of smoke belchers along the country’s busiest thoroughfare.

The environment chief further stated that under the present administration, the government was able to strengthen the regulation and enforcement of rules on air pollution, particularly with the setting of more stringent standards in air emissions.

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