MANILA, Philippines — Residents in the National Capital Region (NCR) have noticed a significant improvement in the quality of the air in the metropolis.
The smoke being emitted by factories and transport vehicles and the traffic congestion that have become the norm in the lives of Metro Manila residents have lessened since the Luzon region was placed under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
The said measure was instituted to address the threats of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that continues to spread in Metro Manila and several parts of Luzon.
The ECQ has also changed the lifestyle of Metro Manila residents, as some have learned the benefits of walking to their destinations and buying only the essential things for themselves and their families.
The suspension of all types of public transportation has paved the way for the air to clear and for the traffic to decongest.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the air quality or particulate matter 10 has significantly changed.
“Ngayon kung titingnan natin nag a-average tayo from good to fair so napakaganda, nakapakaganda nung air quality natin ngayon,” said DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda.
PM10 or the “inhalable particles”, are particles equal to or smaller than 10 microns (PM10) that can reach the throat and the lungs.
A UNTV Drone shot presented a smog-free skyline of Manila and Bonifacio Global City in Taguig as compared to the previous pollution that was once visible in the said places.
The environment department believes that the suspension of public transportation and the reduced number of private vehicles traveling have done the environment a big favor.
“Visually kita natin talagang ang laki mula sa umaga wala yung smog na nakikita natin na akala mo pa ay ma-fog yung buong NCR pero yun pala ay polusyon yun,” Antiporda added.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has also observed that crime and accidents have considerably decreased in Metro Manila and in Region 3 after the enhanced community quarantine was implemented in the entire Luzon.
According to PNP spokesperson, PBGen. Bernard Banac, the crime rate in Luzon had gone down by 80 percent.
“In fact bumaba po ng almost eighty percent ang crime rate hindi lamang dito sa kalakhang Maynila maging sa region at iba pang dako ng Luzon,” Banac said.
Banac added that the latest PNP record shows that road accidents since the ECQ was put in place until March 24 totaled to only 81, a considerably low number compared to the average 50 per day on ordinary days. — (with details from Dante Amento) /mbmf
Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu vowed to close down the quarry involved and cancel the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) issued in the protected area and reforestation site.
Meanwhile, the Masungi Georeserve expressed their gratitude to those who gave their support and prompted the authorities to take action on the incident.
“In the next few days, let’s continue to be vigilant and closely follow and support the next steps being taken by authorities,” according to the geopark’s Facebook post.—AAC
This is according to a post of the Masungi Georeserve on February 26. Their Facebook post showed barbed wires driven into trees in one of the reforestation site in Masungi.
The geopark, located in the Rizal province, reiterated that the area is a geohazard zone as stated by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.
“It is also part of a larger protected area—the Upper Marikina River Protected Landscape—where quarrying and other extractive activities are banned,” their post reads.
The Masungi Georeserve is now waiting for the official order of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to protect its reforestation project from quarrying.
The geopark wants the strict implementation of the Department Order 1993-33 which prohibits extractive industries, particularly mining and quarrying, in Masungi and its vicinity.
A petition has also been put up to save the Masungi Georeserve from quarrying.
“We are hopeful that the Central Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will finally release an official order on the quarry, and implement the laws that protect Masungi and the wildlife that call it home,” according to a recent post of Masungi Georeserve.—AAC
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