DENR favors firecracker ban in Metro
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje has recommended a ban on firecrackers in Metro Manila after air pollution levels skyrocketed at the height of the New Year’s Eve celebration.
In a statement, Paje batted for a complete ban on firecrackers to curb air pollution as he noted that every time the year changed, the poor quality of air in the National Capital Region got even worse.
“The air pollution data we have gathered through the years already beg for a radical solution and I believe the Congress can provide… that,” Paje stressed, adding that the “dangerous levels” of air pollution recorded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in the metropolis were due to firecrackers set off by residents to welcome 2015.
He cited a report by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) which stated that respirable suspended particles (RSP) or particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers and less reached 1,988 micrograms per normal cubic meter in Marikina City from midnight of Dec. 31 to 1 a.m. the next day.
During the same period, fine particles or those with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less at the same air quality monitoring station were measured at 1,978 micrograms per normal cubic meter, the EMB added.
In air quality readings in Marikina City on Dec. 31, the air pollution level was just 35 micrograms per normal cubic meter of RSP and 36 micrograms per normal cubic meter of fine particles, Paje said.
According to him, the National Ambient Guideline Value for RSP is 60 micrograms per normal cubic meter while the threshold for fine particles is 35 micrograms per normal cubic meter.
Paje warned that once inhaled, RSP and fine particles could cause respiratory infections and increase mortality from lung cancer and heart disease, citing standards set by the World Health Organization which said that air is unhealthy if it has particulate matter above 100 micrograms.
Las Piñas City had the worst air quality where RSP was recorded at 2,000 micrograms per normal cubic meter while fine particles were at 1,342 micrograms per normal cubic meter.
Next to Marikina was Navotas where the RSP was at 360 micrograms per normal cubic meter, followed by 359 micrograms per normal cubic meter on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, 276 micrograms per normal cubic meter in Malabon City, 196 micrograms per normal cubic meter in Valenzuela City, and 195 micrograms per normal cubic meter on Taft Avenue in Manila.
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