Air quality in 6 critical Baguio areas to be monitored

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The city and the Cordillera office of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-CAR) will closely monitoring the air quality in six identified critical areas to allow the formulation of appropriate interventions that will contribute in overall efforts to improve the air quality in the said places.

City Environment and Parks Management Officer Atty. Rhenan Diwas disclosed that the 6 identified critical areas in the city that have registered air quality beyond the fair and unhealthy for certain sectors include the areas surrounding the roads in the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), Happy Homes, Veteran’s Park, People’s Park, University of the Philippines College Baguio (UPCB) vicinity and Pacdal.

He stated that the CEPMO and the EMB-CAR agreed to harmonize the air quality data in the national and local levels so that there will be a unified data that will serve as a reference in guiding decision-makers and policy-makers in the formulation of strategies that will in improving the air quality in the said places.

The city was able to gather the accumulated air quality data from 25 different sampling stations in the different parts of the city from 2013 to 2020 where the same ranged from good to unhealthy depending on the activity of people and the presence of motor vehicles that served as the primary source of pollutants in the city’s air during the reckoning period.

However, Diwas explained that if there were identified critical areas in the city, there are also areas that were able to sustain good air quality such as in the Dominican Heritage Hill and Nature Park and the Camp John Hay area.

Aside from harmonizing the air quality data on the national and local levels, the city’s environment officer claimed that it was also agreed by concerned parties to closely monitor the air quality in the identified critical areas and to frequently announce the air quality in the different air quality monitoring stations around the city through various forms of medium for the awareness of the public.

According to him, the unified data gathering efforts of concerned government agencies and the local government will pave the way for the eventual issuance of public advisories to guide people on what steps to undertake or areas to avoid in case that they are members of the vulnerable sectors of the society.

He added that people should not get mad at the city for the deployment of the members of the roadside inspection, testing and monitoring action team to check on the emission of motor vehicles near the identified critical areas because it is one of the measures that had been put in place to prevent the worsening of the air quality in the said places.

Diwas asserted that bad smoke emitted by motor vehicles plying the city’s roads has been identified by experts as one of the pollutants in the air, thus, the need for the formulation of overall interventions that will abate the continuous emission of pollutants that will affect the efforts of the government to reduce the pollution for the benefit of the health of the people.

He stipulated that it will be the air quality monitoring machines that will be used in the monitoring of the city’s air quality in certain areas to be able to come out with a baseline data on the prevailing air quality around the city for a certain period of time.

By Dexter A. See
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis

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