MANILA, Philippines — The thick haze from uncontrolled forest fires in Indonesia has been affecting neighboring countries including the Philippines for weeks.
The haze has already reached Mindanao and Visayas. It may also reach Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon.
PAGASA said, typhoon Lando influenced the wind direction of the haze when it entered Philippine area of responsibility last week.
Anthony Lucero, the OIC of Climate Monitoring and Prediction Section of PAGASA said, the fires in Indonesia occurred in carbon-rich peat lands.
A peat land area is where decayed vegetation from decomposed trees has accumulated and is buried under the soil. The chemical reaction during decomposition produces combustible materials such as methane, which, if the temperature is high and the weather is dry, spontaneously combusts.
The drought caused by El Niño is also a factor that aggravated the fire.
PAGASA said the forest fires in Indonesia may also happen in peatlands of the Philippines, particularly where kaingin is being practiced.
The impact of El Niño was first felt in Indonesia, and Malaysia –countries that are located in the equatorial region. Soon the Philippines may suffer the same fate.
We may see massive reduction in rainfall and possibly spontaneously combusting peat lands resulting in forest fires. (UNTV News)
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – Tropical storm Falcon (international name Danas) has exited the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) yet monsoon rains will still affect most parts of Luzon.
As of 4:00 am on Friday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms will prevail over Metro Manila, Cordillera Administrative Region, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, and the rest of Central Luzon and Cagayan Valley.
Likewise, the southwest monsoon or habagat will continue to affect the regions of Ilocos, Batanes, Babuyan Group of Islands, Zambales, and Bataan.
The rest of the country will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers brought about by localized thunderstorms.
Meanwhile, the new low pressure area (LPA) that PAGASA has been monitoring remains outside PAR and has no direct effect yet to the country.
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2019
REUTERS – Indonesia said on Tuesday (July 9) that it was planning to send back 210 tonnes of trash to Australia, in its latest attempt to push back waste imported from Western countries.
The eight containers seized at Tanjung Perak port in Indonesia’s second largest city, Surabaya, contain plastic bottles, used baby diapers and electronic products, East Java province Customs said in a press release.
Chief of the port’s customs told Reuters three companies were involved in the shipment and were responsible to re-export after an investigation.
This is the second time in less than a month that Indonesia re-exported contaminated waste. Last month, Indonesia sent a consignment of Canadian paper waste back from the same port.
Indonesia and its neighbouring Southeast Asian countries Malaysia and Philippines have been sending back trash amid a spike in imports from Western countries after China banned imports, disrupting the global flow of millions of tonnes of waste each year.
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – State weather bureau PAGASA noted that more areas in the country may expect near normal rainfall in the coming months.
This, despite the persisting drought that affects 32 of the country’s major provinces particularly areas in MIMAROPA, Western Visayas and the Zamboanga Peninsula.
Based on PAGASA’s forecast, about 9 to 13 tropical cyclones may enter the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) before the year ends and those which likely to make landfall are in the months of October, November and December.
The weather agency noted the importance of tropical cyclones because they are the sources of about 50% of water being utilized for domestic requirement especially in Metro Manila.
At present, water level in Angat Dam remains below critical.
It is where Metro Manila sources 96% of its water needs.
PAGASA Hydrologist Sonia Serrano noted that Angat’s current water level is near the lowest ever recorded in 2010.
It is now at 158.4 meters which is 0.8 meters higher than the recorded level of 157.56 meters in 2010.
Serrano also mentioned another low in Angat Dam’s reserve record which was 162.74 meters in 2014.
PAGASA said the effects of El Niño is expected to affect the country until August this year but the phenomenon itself is likely to persist until the first quarter of 2020.
Nevertheless, the weather agency is confident that Angat Dam’s operating level will improve in the coming months specifically in July and in August.
“Hindi natin siya nakikita na biglang tataas except kung mayroong bagyo na talagang tatama, dadaan at magbubuhos ng ulan doon mismo sa Angat dam, (We may not get the sudden rise in [water level] except when tropical cyclones make landfall and drop continuous heavy rainfall directly to Angat Dam),” explained PAGASA Weather Services Chief Esperanza Cayanan.
Serrano, meanwhile, explained that to normalize water level in Angat Dam, it will need more than 300mm of rainfall.
“Gusto nating ma-reach ang 180-meter level na normal operating level ng Angat dam. Ang kinakailangan po natin ay nasa 365mm of rainfall, (We want to reach 180 meters which is the normal operating level of Angat Dam. That will need about 365mm of rainfall),” she noted.
Meanwhile, water level at La Mesa Dam, which is also a source of Manila Water’s water requirement, is now about 70 meters.
PAGASA is concerned, however, that impurities may affect the quality of water to be released in Metro Manila because La Mesa Dam’s intake has not been used for a long time.
“Ang nagiging problema dito, dahil sa katagalan hindi nagamit ang (dam) intake na iyon (kaya) medyo maburak, (The problem is, the dam intake has not been used and the impounded water is already muddy),” explained PAGASA hydrologist Roy Badilla.
“Ang isyu ngayon (o) parang concern nila, oras na buksan nila iyon [dam intake], sasama ang buhangin pababa. Apektado ang quality ng tubig na isu-supply sa Metro Manila, (So the issue or the main concern is that, when they decide to open the dam intake, all sand and mud will flow with the water. It will affect the quality of water supply in Metro Manila),” he concluded. – with details from Rey Pelayo
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