QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Measures to improve air quality in the Philippines are among the priority agenda at the ongoing 8th Annual Clean Air forum of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The discussion points to vehicle emission as the leading factor that contributes 69% to the country’s air pollution.
90% of which comes from Metro Manila.
Based on records of DENR, the current rate of air pollution has declined by about 20%.
However, it is still more than the allowable level stated in the Clean Air Act.
Based on records of the Land Transportation Office, more than 6,000 vehicles have been added on the road from 2012 to 2014.
“It [pollution] worsens because the number of vehicle is increasing; the population is growing; the roads are getting congested and structures are getting higher. These are some factors why air pollution remains on the ground and not dispersing,” explained Rene Pineda, Partnership for Clean Air president.
In 2013, more than three million developed respiratory diseases due to air pollution but the number has lowered by 29% in the past 3 years.
“It aggravates the respiratory diseases like asthma. And it allegedly cause pregnancy defects,” said Eva Ocfemia, Assistant Director of Environmental Management Bureau – DENR.
The government is now penalizing violators of Clean Air Act through the no-contact anti-smoke belching operation. As of today, the government has apprehended almost 9,000 firms for failing the emission standards and for operating without proper permits.
DENR advised to use cleaner fuel to lessen pollution.
“The Euro2 fuel that we use has 500ppm in terms of sulfur dioxide emission. If we use Euro4 it further downgrades emission level to 50ppm only,” Ocfemia said.
The public may also contribute in reducing air pollution by not smoking, by walking or using bicycle for short distances or riding the mass transport system.
It is also better to recycle your garbage instead of burning it.
(REY PELAYO/UNTV NEWS)
U.N. sets out massive benefits from air pollution action in Asia
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
Waste-to-energy facility highly impossible for the Philippines – Experts
An MMDA personnel during a clean-up drive at Estero de Magdalena in Manila collects garbage that clogs the city’s waterways.
PASAY CITY, Philippines – The National Solid Waste Management Commission in 2016 recorded an average daily collection of over 40,000 tons of waste materials in the country.
To date, the volume of garbage being collected every day is continuously increasing with the National Capital Region as the largest source of domestic wastes.
Debates on how the Philippines can achieve zero-waste status are ongoing as well as whether or not the government would put up a waste-to-energy facility in the country.
This is in consideration of environmental advocates and experts’ claim that facilities like incinerators and waste-to-energy plants both produce toxic fumes that are harmful to human health and would definitely damage the environment.
“Incinerators and the newer versions of waste to energy plants all produce the most poisonous and toxic substances,” said Dr. Jorge Emmanuel, an energy technology specialist from Siliman University.
Also, the Clean Air Act clearly prohibits the use of incinerators.
Senate Committee on Energy Chair Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said his Committee has been pushing for a number of proposals regarding waste disposal in the country.
The Senator, however, admitted that a large-scale facility for waste to energy conversion is highly impossible for the Philippines, noting that the process would require amendment of the existing laws aside from the high cost of the facility’s installation and overall operation.
“Ang waste to energy will be impossible to implement here in the Philippines primary because of economics,” he concluded. – Nel Maribojoc / Marje Pelayo
Air pollution kills 7 million people each year, WHO calls for quick change
A man wearing a respiratory protection mask walks toward an office building during the smog after a red alert was issued for heavy air pollution in Beijing’s central business district, China, December 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Lee
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday, May 1, that air pollution still kills 7 million people each year, almost all of them in poor countries in Asia and Africa, and that 9 out of 10 people on the planet breathe in polluted air, following the release of its latest data on air pollution worldwide.
According to the health institution, about a quarter of deaths from heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer can be attributed to air pollution.
These numbers have remained unchanged in the past years, with, globally, outdoor air pollution remaining high and largely unchanged, while indoor air pollution has got worse, as people in many poorer countries continue to cook with solid fuel or kerosene, instead of cleaner fuels such as gas and electricity. Women and children are the most at risk.
Director, Dr. Maria Neira of WHO’s Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health said almost half of the global population is “still cooking and heating and lightening their house” with solid fuels and wood which are not very clean fuels” and “this is having a very negative impact on their health.”
“This is something that we need to solve. We need to increase access to clean fuels, clean energy for this very important proportion of our population,” Dr. Neira added.
WHO’s global assessment is based on satellite data and modeling overlaid on the database of more than 4,300 cities, an almost 50% increase compared to WHO last report in 2016, and is self-selecting, because it is based on voluntary reporting, with numbers that have been hugely revised since the previous report.
The World Health Organization plans to organize in October the first Conference on air pollution and Health to speed up change at a global level. – Reuters