Emergency Hotlines: LANDLINE (+63) 2 911 – 8688

U.N. sets out massive benefits from air pollution action in Asia

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

 


FILE PHOTO: Smoke billowing from the steel plant in Tangshan, Hebei Province, China on March 2017 | REUTERS

Asia could reap massive benefits in health, environment, agriculture and economic growth if governments implement 25 policies such as banning the burning of household waste and cutting industrial emissions, according to a U.N. report published on Tuesday (October 30).

Air pollution is a health risk for 4 billion people in Asia, killing about 4 million of them annually, and efforts to tackle the problem are already on track to ensure air pollution is no worse in 2030, but huge advances could be made, the report “Air Pollution in Asia and the Pacific: Science-based solutions” said.

The report’s 25 recommendations would cost an estimated $300 billion-$600 billion annually, a big investment but loose change compared with a projected $12 trillion economic growth increase.

Helena Molin Valdes, head of Climate and Clean Air Coalition Secretariat at U.N. Environment, said there was an increasing political openness to taking action on air pollution and the report reflected three years of discussions with governments.

The report estimates its recommendations would cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent compared to a baseline scenario, potentially decreasing global warming by one-third of a degree Celsius by 2050, which would also be a contribution in the fight against climate change.

One billion people would enjoy high air quality, while the number exposed to the worst pollution would be cut by 80 percent to 430 million. Premature deaths would fall by a third. — Reuters

Tags: ,

Scientist calls for action as China’s dirty air reaches Burgos, Ilocos Norte

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

A Factory in China at Yangtze River. (Photo by Wikimedia user, High Contrast)

MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino environmental scientist discovered that there is dirty air prevailing over Burgos, Ilocos Norte that comes from China and South Korea.

Dr. Gerry Bagtasa of the University of the Philippines Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology collected air samples from 2015 to 2017 to determine whether fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) other than those native in the Philippines are affecting the area.

“Una naming ine-expect na manggagaling siya sa Taiwan kasi malapit lang ang Taiwan. (We expect the air to come from Taiwan as Taiwan is near to us.) It’s just 500 km. away,” explained Bagtasa.

“Pero after two years of measurement, ang nakita natin nanggagaling pala siya sa (we discovered that the air originated from) further north which is nasa Northern East Asia,” he said.

They discovered that the air coming from China and South Korea contains pollutants.

Fine particulate matter is an air pollutant so tiny that it can penetrate human respiratory airways and even to the deepest part of the lungs and other organs.

“May mga PM2.5 na hindi naman masama tulad ng asin. May mga asin na pinong-pino na pwede nating malanghap pag nasa beach tayo. Ok lang iyon, (There are PM2.5 that are not harmful like salt. There are fine salt that we inhale when we go to the beach. That’s okay),” Bagtasa said.

“May mga PM2.5 like iyong usok ng tambutso ng bus. PM2.5 din iyon (pero) masama naman siya pag nalanghap natin, (There are PM2.5 that come from bus exhaust. That’s also PM2.5 but harmful when inhaled),” he added.

According to Dr. Bagtasa, pollution from other countries can be determined through the metals present in the air.

They decided to choose Burgos because the area usually has clean air quality during normal weather.

Based on the result of their study, the level of pollution in the area is still below critical at 20 micrograms per cubic meter as compared to that in Metro Manila which is at 30 to 50 micrograms per cubic meter.

This level, according to Dr. Bagtasa, is still within the standards of air quality in the Philippines which sets 50 micrograms per cubic meter as the highest pollution rate.

But based on the World Health Organization (WHO), the air is already harmful to human health when the particulate matter exceeds 25 micrograms per cubic meter.

The environmental scientist explained that when the level of particulate matter reaches 25 micrograms per cubic meter, the first to suffer are those with pre-existing ailments. Higher than that level, he added, means harm would be massive as more people will be affected.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is now validating the result of the study for confirmation.

Dr. Bagtasa said they collected the samples every after four months, specifically when the northeast monsoon or amihan was prevalent.

The expert noted that it takes three days for the air from northeast Asia to reach the Philippines.

“Mayroon din kaming measurement ng Habagat at tuwing habagat napakalinis ng hangin doon. So yung pagsukat nila, I think nagsusukat sila sa same location, habagat ngayon, ang mangyayari maba-validate yung habagat measurements from before, (We also have measurement for habagat and during habagat, the air is clean. I think they do the measurement on the same location. Habagat is prevailing now which will validate our habagat measurements from before,)” Bagtasa said.

Bagtasa explained that the result can be used to aid policy makers that’s why the group is calling for more extensive study on the prevalence of air pollution across the globe.

“It’s a global problem at ang solution diyan, i-measure natin globally. Saan ba yung mga apektado? Saan ba yung hindi? (the solution would be to measure it globally. What areas are affected? What areas are not affected?)” Dr. Bagtasa said.

“From there, pwede tayong gumawa ng mga hakbang tulad ng pagbawas ng emission na nakakadagdag dito sa mga pullutants na ito, (we could provide steps [to alleviate pollution] like reduce the emissions that add to the pollutants [in the air],” he concluded. – with details from Rey Pelayo

Tags: , , , , , ,

Palawan ranks 8th best place to visit in Asia

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, July 8th, 2019

Palawan ranks 8th in the best places to visit in Asia according to a travel website.

According to the Lonely Planet, “long known as the Philippines’ last frontier, Palawan has ridden a slew of media accolades to the cusp of international superstardom.”

Travel site, Lonely Planet, has listed 10 best places to visit in Asia which includes Margaret River & Southern WA, Australia, Shikoku in Japan, and Bay of Islands & Northland, New Zealand as the top three places.

“The crown jewel is El Nido, where skyscraping karst formations rise out of blue water in Bacuit Bay.

New rules restrict visitor numbers at signature sights like the Big Lagoon on Miniloc Island, while a ban on single-use plastic bottles on tour boats is helping to tackle marine pollution,” the website reads.—AAC

Tags: , ,

Bangkok officials blast off water streams to tackle hazardous air pollution

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, December 25th, 2018

Authorities use water canons to blast off dust particles that cause air pollution in Bangkok. | Photo by Reuters

Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) officials used water cannons on Monday (Dec 24) in areas deemed critical in an attempt to catch dust particles blamed for the hazardous air pollution in the capital city this past week.

“The pollution is mainly caused by the construction sites of government infrastructures – the roads and sky trains – at the same time, the private sector is also constructing high rise buildings along those skytrain stations. Secondly, the combustion from the vehicles. We have to admit that we have a lot of cars and traffic jams,” said Deputy Bangkok Governor Taweesak Lerdprapan in Thai.

The concentration of particulate matter (PM2.5) dust had eased up on Monday with a 24-hour rolling average of 36-56 micrograms per m3, compared to Friday’s (December 21) average of 114-175 micrograms per m3, according to data provided by the city’s Pollution Control Department.

Authorities have advised Bangkok residents to ‘stay indoors’ and added the situation would get better in the next couple of weeks.

Local residents were seen wearing face masks during their morning commute to protect themselves from the current levels of pollution.

“It’s very hazy and grim these days. I feel that there’s a lot of dust. I usually clean my nose frequently and I can feel that it’s not clean,” said 26-year-old Bangkok Resident Suganya Tuwang.

“Yes, I can feel it (health impact from air pollution). It makes me feel… It causes me to have trouble breathing, so I have to use face mask to protect myself,” exclaimed Chanpen Boonkhuntod, also a resident of Bangkok.

PM 2.5 is a mixture of fine particles that can include dust, dirt, soot and smoke. – REUTERS

Tags: ,