Motorists urged to leave cars at home on Sunday as Makati, Pasig declare car-free day
MANILA, Philippines—Help clean the air by leaving your car at home on Sunday.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources and its partners are to launch Sunday a “car-free day” in Makati and Pasig cities as part of the observance of Clean Air Month, officials said Saturday.
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje urged motorists to leave their cars at home for at least one day in November and to use public transport or bicycles to reduce carbon emissions and conserve energy resources.
“I encourage everyone who can to leave their car at home at least one day in November and use alternative modes of transportation such as cycling, walking or taking public transport,” Paje said in a statement.
Thousands of clean air advocates are expected to gather at the Ayala Triangle in Makati City for the launch of the project, a purely voluntary effort, beginning at 6 a.m.
They will then proceed to Ortigas Center in Pasig City, riding bikes, electric cars and other such modes of transportation to campaign for clean air and better health.
Under the theme “Car-Free Day – A day of reflection for health, human life and the environment; Stand up for your right to breathe clean air,” the campaign encourages motorists to give up their car for a day to help reduce fuel consumption and air pollution on busy thoroughfares in the metropolis.
Secretaries Joseph Emilio Abaya of the Department of Transportation and Communications and Carlos Petilla of the Department of Energy, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chair Francis Tolentino, and Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay are expected to join the event.
Also joining are Sophie Punte of Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities, environmentalist-lawyer Antonio Oposa, and other government representatives and clean air advocates, officials said.
The event is spearheaded by the Partnership for Clean Air, a multi-sector body composed of representatives from the DENR, DOTC, MMDA, Philippine Information Agency, Laguna Lake Development Authority, and the local governments of Makati and Pasig cities, as well as non-government organizations like Miriam P.E.A.C.E., Earth Day Jam Foundation, Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines, the Firefly Brigade, Clean Air Initiative-Asia, Youth Vote, Ateneo School of Government, and Earth Day Network.
Sponsors include Ayala Land Inc., Petroleum Institute of the Philippines, Manila Water and Boysen Philippines.
Paje said the DENR is throwing its full support behind the “car-free day” initiative, believing that car owners should be actively involved in the drive to stop air pollution.
“We all know that motor vehicles remain the major source of air pollution not only in Metro Manila but also in other urban areas. Thus, we call on vehicle owners to lend a hand in the government’s efforts to clean the air,” Paje said.
As of the third quarter of 2012, Paje said both the amount of total suspended particulates (TSP) and the level of particulate matter 10 microns in diameter or smaller (PM10) in Metro Manila had decreased from previous quarters.
TSP levels in Metro Manila declined from 135ug/Ncm in the first quarter to 130ug/Ncm in the second quarter, and to 106ug/Ncm in the third quarter, or by 21 percent overall, he said.
The PM10 levels declined by 18 percent, registering at 94ug/Ncm in the first quarter to 86ug/Ncm in the second quarter, and finally down to 77ug/Ncm in the third quarter, he added.
TSP refers to the amount of solid pollutants such as dust and soot in the air, with the guideline level at 90ug/Ncm (micrograms per normal cubic meter).
PM10, on the other hand, is considered more harmful to human health as its finer particles when inhaled can penetrate the lungs, leading to more severe pulmonary or respiratory illnesses. The annual guideline threshold for PM10 is at 60ug/Ncm.
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