If not the pandemic, the smog

    As the national capital region is slowly experiencing a comeback of the usual activities, smog, or smoke and fog, is again becoming an ever-present threat to the health of city residents.
    Clearing the air was one if not the only positive effect the pandemic provided at the onset. That the cross on Mt. Samat’s Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor) in Bataan could be viewed from a high point in Metro Manila then will again be blurred unless environmental managers step up and do something about the smog.

    MANILA — The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) clarifies the haze above Metro Manila in the past two days did not come from Taal Volcano in Batangas, despite her restiveness.

    “The haze in Metro Manila is most likely caused by human activities, such as emission of vehicles, and not Taal,” says Science Undersecretary and Phivolcs officer-in-charge Renato Solidum Jr said.

    “You can see this pollution clearly in the morning when the temperature is cooler as the sun has just risen. The haze is from the ground and moving up and very evident in major roads,” he says.

    The Department of Public Services (DPS) confirms the PhiVolcs clarification. According to the agency’s air quality monitor, 10 AM Monday, 28 June until 9 AM Tuesday, 29 June, Air Quality Index City was “observed to be dominated by ‘unhealthy’ and ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’

    Since 25 June, increasing concentrations of PM2.5 Levels were recorded in several areas in Metro Manila says the Public Service agency but did not disclose any specifics on how much and where the increase was monitored.

    Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is an air pollutant that is a concern for people’s health when levels in air are high. PM2.5 are tiny particles in the air that reduce visibility and cause the air to appear hazy when levels are elevated.

    Meanwhile, because of the report, the DPS is encouraging the public that if any adverse effects are experienced, consult a doctor or the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team for proper treatment.

    Solidum says the plume over Taal on Monday moved toward the northeast and not to Manila.

    In an advisory, Phivolcs warns the volcanic smog, or “vog”—a type of air pollution—observed over Taal Volcano’s caldera can irritate the eyes, throat and respiratory tract.

    The vog was caused by high levels of sulfur dioxide gas emissions from the main crater, says the agency and warns the public to limit their exposure to vog, avoid outdoor activities, and stay indoors with doors and windows shut.

    The DPS says people with lung and heart disease, older adults and children are advised to stay indoors as they are at a greater risk from air pollution exposure.

    It warns the public to also stay indoors or use N95 face mask, ideally, and drink plenty of water to reduce any throat irritation or constriction.  (LO/The MiNT)


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