DENR, DLSU team up for clean air | Inquirer News

DENR, DLSU team up for clean air

By: - Reporter / @jgamilINQ
/ 01:46 AM November 16, 2011

As part of efforts to gather accurate data on air pollution in Metro Manila, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and De La Salle University (DLSU) have teamed up for the installation of an air quality monitoring station on the busy thoroughfare of Taft Avenue in Manila.

The P6-million machine located on the DLSU grounds near the Velasco gate will automatically produce daily measurements of air pollutants present in the area such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, benzene, toluene and xylene.

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The DENR currently has 10 air quality monitoring machines in the metropolis and another 48 scattered around the country, said Jean N. Rosete, chief of the Air Quality Management section of the DENR Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).

The Taft Avenue machine, however, is the first unmanned machine installed in the metropolis. It can automatically analyze daily air pollutant levels in real time and send the results straight to the DENR-EMB central office.

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The data will be used for policy formulation on air, traffic and land quality; and advancing studies on health, vegetation or building materials, said Environment Secretary Ramon Paje.

Rosete added that the information would also be used to measure the effectivity of environmental policies.

For instance, based on the data provided by other machines, total suspended particulates (TSP) have decreased nationwide compared with last year, Rosete said.

TSP come from vehicle emissions and usually cause “aesthetic” irregularities such as a hazy or gray horizon. These larger particles are what the DENR’s air quality monitoring machines measure.

TSP levels were only 120 micrograms per normal cubic meter in the second quarter of the year compared with 166 micrograms per normal cubic meter during the same period in 2010. TSP levels further dropped to 116 micrograms per normal cubic meter in the third quarter of this year.

The “healthy guideline value” for TSP, however, is only 90 micrograms per normal cubic meter. Anything over this level can be considered “unhealthy,” Rosete said.

The DENR installs its air quality monitoring machines beside busy thoroughfares in urban centers to get the worst possible air conditions in the country.

“With more pollutants being monitored, we can be assured of more effective policies in curbing air pollution,” Paje said.

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TAGS: Air pollution, air quality monitoring machine, environment, Philippines – Metro
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