MANILA, Philippines–The Environment department is cracking down on smoke belchers as it revived the national government’s campaign to apprehend vehicles that fail to follow emission standards in the major thoroughfares of Metro Manila.
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje on Friday signed a memorandum of agreement with Department of Transportation and Communication, represented by Undersecretary Oscar Moncupa, and Department of Interior and Local Government to intensify the anti-pollution campaign in the metropolis.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said it is cracking down on vehicles as they are the major source of pollution in the city. Vehicles, the DENR said, emit carbon monoxide and sulfur molecules that have mixed with dust.
Environmental Management Bureau Director Juan Miguel Cuna said vehicle emission contributes at least 80 percent of total suspended particulates (TSP) in Metro Manila, with the remaining 20 percent coming from stationary sources or industries.
According to EMB records, levels of total suspended particulates in Metro Manila have steadily declined from an average high of 166 micrograms per Normal cubic meter (µg/Nm3) in June 2010 to 112 µg/Nm3 last September.
Recently, Paje said the air in the vicinity of the busy intersection of EDSA and Taft Avenue in Pasay City has been measured to be the dirtiest in Metro Manila, at 280µg/Nm3.
Under the MOA, 10 composite anti-smoke belching (ASB) teams would be created to conduct roadside apprehensions along the metropolis’ main avenues.
Each team would be composed of officially designated personnel from the EMB, the DOTC’s Land Transportation Office, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and other stakeholders.
The DENR will provide each team with the necessary equipment such as smoke meters, along with the necessary training on their operation, calibration and maintenance, and on emission standards and regulations. The agency would also coordinate with other stakeholders and monitor and evaluate the progress of the inspection teams.