Rains, lush forest blunt effects of haze in Palawan
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Rains and Palawan’s lush forest are blunting the effects of the haze sweeping from the two-monthlong Indonesian brush fires that have been creating health and flight hazards in Mindanao and the Visayas, weathermen said Monday.
Serving as a natural buffer, trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen at the same time, said Sonny Pajarilla of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) station which has been monitoring the presence of the Indonesian smog since last week.
“Our forest cover is evidently helping disperse the smoke from the atmosphere because of its absorption capacity. Adding to that are the rains in the past few days that have been mitigating the spread of the haze,” said Pajarilla, chief meteorological officer here.
He noted, however, that the haze, driven by the prevailing easterly winds, had a horizontal visibility of about eight to 10 kilometers. So far, neither the health or aviation officials have issued advisories related to personal safety and navigation.
Palawan’s extensive forests, placed by official data at close to 50 percent of the province’s total mainland land mass, is serving as “a sink” for carbon dioxide, according to Pajarilla.
Palawan, considered the Philippines’ last frontier, is the largest province with a land area, totaling 14,649.7 square kilometers, or about 1.5 million hectares.
“We are better situated than Manila or the major cities that have to bear the full impact of the smokes in addition to their own carbon dioxide production by their vehicles,” he added.
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