Metro Manila’s ‘dirty air’ blamed on ‘surplus’ motor vehicles
CALOOCAN CITY, June 27 (PIA) — Department of Environment and Natural Resources Spokesperson Undersecretary Benny Antiporda on Saturday said “surplus” motor vehicles used primarily for public conveyance may be directly responsible for the return of “dirty air” in Metro Manila.
During the Laging Handa public briefing powered by the Presidential Communications and affiliate state media, Antiporda said public utility vehicles gradually returning and now plying Metro Manila streets are causing the air quality to worsen.
“What do we see here is talagang culprit natin dito are the public utility vehicles kung saan yung gumagamit ng mga surplus na sasakyan itong problema po natin sa air, dahil noon pong wala pa po itong COVID, ang atin pong air quality ay lumalaro sa fair to unhealthy, sometimes, very unhealthy pa siya pagka trapik ‘yung area talaga at naiipon ‘yung mga usok sa isang lugar,” the official said.
He explained that during the lockdown when public utility vehicles were suspended, Metro Manila’s air quality index was generally “good” and relatively safer to breathe.
“Ang air quality index natin [sa Metro Manila] dati naglalaro lang siya sa good and fair, majority ng ating monitoring areas ay good talaga, so napakasarap lumabas at sumimoy man lang ng malinis na hangin, pero sad to say, ngayon po ay medyo sumama ng konti, nasa fair po tayo ngayon. Karamihan nasa fair po tayo pero may ilang lugar na good pa rin,” he said, emphasizing that the significant drop in air pollution in the region was observed by the DENR’s monitoring stations as early as a week after the quarantine was implemented.
Antiporda said proper vehicle maintenance is key to curbing air pollution and safeguarding air quality as urged transport operators and car owners to always keep their motor vehicles in check.
“Nananawagan po tayo sa ating mga kababayan na sa tuwing makikita po natin na meron nang diprensya ang ating sasakyan, huwag na ho natin hintayin pa ‘yung emission testing para masabi na kailangang magpagawa tayo baka pwedeng ipagawa na po natin ang ating mga sasakyan, and at the same time, malinis na po natin ang ating mga exhaust system, para naman po hindi na masira ang ating air quality,” he said, as the release of poisonous gases is closely related to defective motor vehicles.
“Always remember, wala pa po tayong existing na filter para sa air natin. Meron man tayo, hindi ho ganun kalakas na makina na kaya lang [ang] isang kwarto na ma-filter ang air pero ‘yung air po natin sa labas, sa kalsada, at sa mga open air areas, aba’y napakahirap po talaga at wala po tayong panlinis diyan, kung kaya’t ang tinatamaan po niyan ay ang baga natin,” he added.
According to the DENR, much of the air pollution in urban areas is carbon monoxide or half-burned smoke emitted by motor vehicles.
The acceptable threshold standard level of particulate matter 10 micrometers or less in diameter or PM-10 is 60 mass per unit volume (expressed as ug/Ncm).
Based on DENR Administrative Order 2013-13, the acceptable limit for PM-2.5 is 50 ug/Ncm for the short term 24-hour average level, and 35 µg/Ncm for the long term one-year average level.
“Always remember, sa COVID-19 po baga rin po ang tinitira niyang sakit na ‘yan, kung kaya’t pangalagaan po natin ang ating baga by means of taking care of our air quality,” Antiporda added. (PIA NCR)