Lax vehicle inspection, emission testing have worsened Metro air pollution – CCCA
MANILA, Philippines — From the current hazardous levels, can air pollution in Metro Manila be drastically reduced within a few months’ time?
A multi-sectoral civil society group said the feat could be done by June 2015, but only if the two government agencies tasked under the Clean Air Act of 1999 (Republic Act 8749) would strictly enforce the mandatory vehicle inspection and emission testing.
The Coalition of Clean Air Advocates (CCCA) appealed to the President “in behalf of the victims of air pollution” to compel the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) particularly its agency, Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), to do their part.
“Motor vehicles undergo and pass the emission test in paper, but in reality most of them were never tested at all,” the group said in a letter to the President on Monday.
According to the CCCA, the “non-appearance” in the emission test, a requisite to annual registration, has become a pervasive practice as the LTO and private testing centers give vehicle owners a clean bill without testing, for a fee.
“The pervasive practice of non-appearance in the nationwide mandatory motor vehicle emission test procedures has rendered the Clean Air Act ineffective,” said the CCCA led by its chairman Leo Olarte.
The DTI also never implemented the law’s requirement for a comprehensive motor vehicle maintenance compliance inspection and testing, he said.
“The major solution to clean Metro Manila’s polluted air is through regular motor vehicle maintenance supported by a real inspection test,” Olarte stressed, adding that registration testing should not be allowed without a maintenance compliance test.
“The air that we all breathe in Metro Manila and in some of our urban centers has consistently reached internationally unacceptable levels of pollution and poses a clear and present danger to human health,” Olarte said.
The latest air pollution reading in Metro Manila as of June 2014 reached total suspended particulates (TSP) of 136 ug/Ncm.
The World Health Organization set the internationally acceptable standard of TSP at only 90ug/Ncm of air.
TSP is the standard worldwide measurement of air pollution.
“If we can have the government’s full support, we will commit and challenge ourselves that together, the private and government sector will bring down the air pollution level in Metro Manila from an unacceptable air quality level of 136 ug/Ncm TSP to way down the WHO accepted standard of 90 ug/Ncm TSP by June 30, 2015,” Olarte vowed.
Eighty percent of air pollution in Metro Manila comes from smoke belching vehicles, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The CCCA, composed of health professionals, business, religious and civil society groups, has partnered with the DENR and sponsored on November 17 a first-ever nationwide free emission testing to promote awareness of the importance of curbing smoke belching.
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