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Metro Manila registers unusually clean air

At least for today, Metro Manila residents can enjoy the cooler breeze outdoors sans the threat of polluted air.

All four monitoring stations of the Rotary Club of Makati air quality monitoring system in Metro Manila registered air quality rated from good to very good at 2:00 this afternoon.

Accordingly, no precautionary health advisories were issued.

The Lung Center station in Quezon City registered the best air quality among the four stations. At 2pm, its air quality was rated “very good” with a reading of just 4 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3) for fine particulate matters measuring 2.5 microns or less (PM2.5).

air quality monitoring Lung Center of the Philippines

“Very good” air quality reading at Lung Center of the Philippines 2PM February 15, 2017. Source: Airtoday.ph

This is well within WHO’s 25 ug/m3 safe air ceiling for PM2.5. For the coarser PM10 the safe ceiling is 50ug/m3. PM2.5 poses a greater health risk as the fine dust can be ingested and lodge in the lungs.

UST-Espana, which usually has the dirtiest air among the four stations, had air rated “good” quality. The readings were 25ug/m3 for PM10 and 12ug/m3 for PM2.5, which are all within the safe standard.

"Good" air quality in UST Espana 2PM February 15, 2017

“Good” air quality in UST Espana 2PM February 15, 2017. Source: Airtoday.ph

Ayala had the second best air quality with readings  at 21 and 9 ug/m  for PM10 and PM2.5, respectively. This was followed in third place by EDSA-Muñoz at 47 and 15 ug/m3  for PM10 and PM2.5 respectively.

 Air quality is monitored continuously day and night 24/7 with readings and health advisories available to the public through the system’s Internet website airtoday.ph and Android app. The advanced Germany-made instruments transmit data wirelessly to a server for analysis and distribution.

"Good" air quality in Ayala Avenue Makati 2PM February 15, 2017

“Good” air quality in Ayala Avenue Makati 2PM February 15, 2017. Source: Airtoday.ph

Experts say that air pollution in Metro Manila mainly comes from tailpipe emissions. Good air quality is therefore unusual considering heavy vehicular traffic anytime of the day.

"Good" air quality in UST Espana at 2PM February 15, 2017. Source: Airtoday.ph

“Good” air quality in UST Espana at 2PM February 15, 2017. Source: Airtoday.ph

Eddie H. Yap, Makati Rotary president for RY 2015-2016 and project manager welcomes the positive news.

“We are fortunate that a large part of Metro Manila has a relatively flat topography bounded by two large bodies of water on both sides. The occasional strong breeze and monsoon-induced winds that blow through help clear the polluted air.

We will look at factors that contributed to cleaner air today. The bright warm mid-afternoon sun and brisk wind condition could have contributed to the better air quality” he said.

Featured Image: Monica Arellano-Ongpin via Flickr

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New material discovered to filter PM 2.5 particles

The latest publication of Nature has highlighted a discovery headed by Professor Wang Bo from the Beijing Institute of Technology, whose team created a membrane made from metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) to filter PM2.5 particles.

According to Wang, the porous crystallization material is a compound of organic monomers and metal ions, which can catch and dissolve the small particles, and evaporative Volatile Organic Compound (VOC).

The team has by now applied the crystallized compound to the surfaces of textiles, foam materials, plastics and steel meshes.

The material is probably the most powerful filter yet and can absorb and store more than 10 times the number of molecules as currently available filters.

It can also morph the pollutants into carbon dioxide and water when catalyzed under sunlight—a sustainable and zero polluting way—to ensure the purification of the air, with a rate as high as 99 percent.

The material can lower pollution caused by PM2.5 and PM10 to 0.5 percent, and the rate will only be affected when the temperature rises to as high as 200 degrees Celsius. It is expected to be applied to reduce the polluted particles from dust bags of vacuum cleaner, exhaust pipes of automobiles and particles produced from manufacturing bases. It can also dissolve massive VOC.

According to Wang, his team plans to apply their discoveries to air purifiers and screen windows, and to reduce industrial emissions.

Wang Xun, dean at the Chemical School of Tsinghua University, said the discovery is significant in view of the country’s efforts to reduce smog and improve air quality.

“Its application will be broad and extensive,” Wang said.

This story was published with permission from China.org.cn

Get real-time air quality updates from Airtoday.ph. A Rotary Makati public service.
Download the iOS and Android apps for free:
iOS: search ‘airtoday.ph’ on iTunes
Android:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.hangin.ph

Follow Airtoday.ph on Twitter @AirtodayPH or Like the Official Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/RCMakAirtoday

 

Air quality charts for Ayala Avenue and UST Espana showing unusual pollution spikes from December 31, 2016. Source: Airtoday.ph

RC Makati’s air quality charts capture images of New Year’s unusual pollution spikes

Each year, dazzling fireworks that paint the night sky highlight the New Year’s revelry, but cloud people’s awareness of an ugly aftermath: Dangerous air pollution spikes.

On December 31st 2016, the Rotary Club of Makati’s air quality monitoring system (AQMS) captured dramatic images in real-time of unusual air pollution spikes from 12 midnight of December 31, 2016 to 4:00 AM of January 1, 2017.

Using a GRIMM EDM365 environmental dust point monitoring machine acquired from Germany, RC Makati’s AQMS records and reports air pollution data from four strategic locations that bracket Metro Manila: Ayala Avenue Makati, UST Espana, EDSA Munoz, and Lung Center of the Philippines.

It features real-time 24/7 recording of PM10 and PM2.5, in micrograms per cubic meter, and .on-line reporting as colored index via the website and mobile app Airtoday.ph, with corresponding precautionary advice when air pollution reaches unhealthy levels.

RC Makati’s air quality charts showed that air pollution in Metro Manila started reaching “poor” alert levels as early as 11:00 PM December 31, 2016 and spiked to “very poor” and “hazardous” levels from 12 midnight until 4:00 AM January 1, 2017.

UST Espana recorded the highest pollution levels with PM2.5 level spiking to 212 micrograms per cubic meter air (ug/m3). This exceeded World Health Organization (WHO) safe standard of 25 ug/m3   over a 24-hour mean by up to eight times.

PM10 level reached 264 ug/m — five times over WHO safe standard of 50 ug/m3    over a 24-hour mean.New Year Chart

Short-lived relief

RC Makati’s Airtoday.ph charts showed that air quality changed to moderate from around 7:00 AM January 1, 2017 and only improved to “good” at around 10:00 AM.

After the air cleared from the New Year’s fireworks, Metro Manila enjoyed “good” to “very good” air quality from around 10 AM January 1, 2017 to about 3 AM January 3, 2017 which was ideal for enjoying usual outdoor activities.

But this was a short-lived relief. Air quality decreased to “moderate” around 4 AM of January 3, 2017.

Dr. Mylene G. Cayetano, Ph.D. of the UP Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology who leads the interpretation of scientific data for RC Makati’s AQMS, said that the spike came vehicular traffic when work and classes resumed on January 3.

Because of this, Cayetano emphasized the importance of RC Makati’s real-time air monitoring system that enables the public to access air pollution data 24/7 so they can protect themselves from health hazards linked to air pollution before heading out — whenever there is a pollution event such as the New Year’s fireworks or from daily exposure to tail-pipe pollution from the metro’s roads.

“Pollution monitoring machines, whether point monitoring or long-path systems, may have the capability to record pollution data accurately but if this data is not consistently made available to the public, then the monitoring fails to serve one of its more important purposes: To warn the public of pollution spikes in real-time,” she said.

RC Makati’s past president Eddie H. Yap, who initiated and continues to champion the AQMS project, said: “If we are vigilant about keeping safe from firecracker-related injuries during the New Year, we should also be vigilant about keeping our lungs safe from air pollution, which is killing us slowly but surely”.

 

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Rotary Club of Makati’s Air Quality Monitoring System offers the country’s first-ever real-time PM 10 and PM 2.5 air pollution reporting

Air pollution in Metro Manila is increasingly becoming an urgent public health agenda. The need for an Air Quality Monitoring System (AQMS) that is capable of reporting real-time and accurate pollution information has never been more highlighted.

The Rotary Club of Makati’s AQMS features real-time 24/7 recording of PM10 and PM2.5, in micrograms per cubic meter, and .on-line reporting as colored index, with corresponding precautionary advise when air pollution reaches unhealthy levels.

RC Makati’s AQMS is the only air pollution monitoring system in the country that publishes real-time air pollution reports.

To view real-time reports, visit www.Airtoday.ph.

RC Makati monitors pollution from three strategic locations that bracket Metro Manila: UST Espana, Ayala Avenue Makati, EDSA Munoz Quezon City, with an additional monitoring station under a data-sharing collaboration with the Lung Center of the Philippines, also in Quezon City.

PM10 and PM2.5 are tiny dusts in the air that can be hazardous when inhaled, potentially causing inflammation in the lungs or heart.

During the New Year’s revelry last week, RC Makati’s AQMS recorded the highest concentration of PM2.5 in UST Espana at 12:00 midnight December 31, 2016.

PM2.5 level spiked to 212 micrograms per cubic meter air (ug/m3). This exceeded World Health Organization (WHO) safe standard of 25 ug/m3   over a 24-hour mean by up to eight times.

PM10 level reached 264 ug/m — five times over WHO safe standard of 50 ug/m3    over a 24-hour mean.

The spikes in pollutants raised the air quality index (AQI) to purple alert, the highest AQI which warned residents of hazardous air. Those with respiratory and heart ailments, the elderly, and children were at high risk of suffocation, coughing, and other long-term respiratory and heart diseases.

Airtoday.ph charts showed that Metro Manila residents in the UST Espana area breathed hazardous air until 3:00 AM January 1, 2017.

At 4: 00 AM of January 1, 2017, air quality was still “very poor” in the area and called for residents to reduce strenuous activities outdoors. People with respiratory and heart ailments were particularly at risk, the charts said.

The air only started to clear from 7:00 AM, and improved to good level until 12:00 noon and well into the next days.

Hazardous air pollution reading at UST Espana from December 31, 2016 10 PM to January 1, 2017 3:00 AM. Notice the spike in air pollution at exactly 12:00 midnight. Source: www.Airtoday.ph by Rotary Club of Makati Air Quality Monitoring System

Hazardous air pollution reading at UST Espana from December 31, 2016 10 PM to January 1, 2017 3:00 AM. Notice the spike in air pollution at exactly 12:00 midnight. Source: www.Airtoday.ph by Rotary Club of Makati Air Quality Monitoring System

Air quality in the three other stations (Lung Center of the Philippines, Ayala Avenue Makati, and EDSA Munoz) ranged from “very poor” to “poor” from 12:00 midnight of December 31, 2016 to 3:00 AM of January 1, 2017.

12 AM Jan 1 2017Jan 1 2017 12AMJan 1 2017 12 AM

 

“The Rotary Club of Makati is helping boost government’s efforts to raise awareness on the dangers of air pollution. We want to offer an extra pair of eyes to help expose this invisible killer,” said RC Makati’s immediate past president Eddie H. Yap, who initiated and continues to champion the project.

Real-time 24×7 pollution reporting is key

RC Makati uses Germany made GRIMM EDM365 environmental dust monitor using point monitoring technology to measure air pollutants.

In an interview, Dr. Mylene G. Cayetano of the UP Institute for Environmental Science and Meteorology (UP-IESM) who leads the interpretation of RC Makati’s pollution readings, explained that in addition to the GRIMM EDM365 being an advanced technology, the strength of RC Makati’s pollution monitoring lies in its ability to report data real-time through its mobile phone app and website.

“Pollution monitoring machines, whether point monitoring or long-path systems, may have the capability to record pollution data accurately but if this data is not consistently made available to the public, then the monitoring fails to serve one of its more important purposes: To warn the public of pollution spikes in real-time,” she said.

From the monitoring devices pollution information is transmitted to a server where algorithms translate data to an Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI is then published in RC Makati’s website, Airtoday.ph, making the information available to the public real time, 24×7. Airtoday.ph charts can also be downloaded via iTunes or GooglePlay so the public can access real-time pollution information from their smartphone devices.

RC Makati has a 5-tier AQI: Hazardous, Very Poor, Poor, Moderate, Good, and Very Good.

Cayetano explains that air pollution updates from RC Makati’s AQMS “is always relevant. If you checked the readings as of 7AM, that is accurate as of the hour, and relevant based on a three-hour average.”

People can therefore get warned about wearing a mask before heading out so they can protect themselves when going to areas identified with elevated pollutant levels.

“If we are vigilant about keeping safe from firecracker related injuries during the New Year, we should also be vigilant about keeping our lungs safe from air pollution, which is killing us slowly but surely,” RC Makati’s Yap said.

Get real-time air quality updates from Airtoday.ph. A Rotary Makati public service.
Download the iOS and Android apps for free:
iOS: search ‘airtoday.ph’ on iTunes
Android:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.hangin.ph

Follow Airtoday.ph on Twitter @AirtodayPH or Like the Official Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/RCMakAirtoday

Image: Child Health Initiative.org

RC Makati’s Airtoday.ph now reports PM10 data

The Rotary Club of Makati’s Air Quality Monitoring System has expanded its reporting capability to include readings of particulate matter 10, the pollutant in the air that measures 10 micrometers or less in diameter, enabling people to do something to protect themselves from this pollutant.

Before, AQMS data was presented for PM2.5 readings or air pollutants that measure 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter. PM2.5   are also generally called fine particles.

December 22 AM Poor Ayala

A screen capture of RC Makati Airtoday.ph charts shows PM 10 and PM2.5 in Ayala Avenue Makati on December 22, 2016 at 8AM exceed World Health Organization standards.

Why does knowing about PM10 and PM2.5 matter?

Both PM10 and PM2.5   are harmful pollutants when inhaled. When PM2.5  levels in the air are above the World Health Organization standard of 25 µg/m3 over a 24-hour mean, there is nothing people can do to stay safe except to avoid exposure.

Because of their tiny size, mere exposure to air when the PM2.5 reading is above safe levels will render people vulnerable to serious respiratory and heart ailments. PM2.5  are small enough to lodge directly onto the gas exchanges of the lungs or inflame the bloodstreams in the heart.

Meanwhile, WHO’s safe standard for PM10  is 50 µg/m3 24-hour mean. When people are informed of PM10   levels exceeding this standard, they can wear a mask to breathe safe when outdoors.

Particulate matter exposure. Image: Dr. Mylene Cayetano, Ph.D.

Particulate matter exposure. Image: Dr. Mylene Cayetano, Ph.D.

The RC Makati’s Air Quality Monitoring System launched in March is a public service project aimed at raising awareness on air pollution, dubbed as humanity’s biggest killer that causes up to 7 million people to die earlier than they should globally.

The AQMS reports pollution information from four sites, including UST Espana, EDSA Munoz and Ayala Avenue Makati where RC Makati installed three environmental dust monitoring machines, and from the Lung Center of the Philippines where it has a data sharing agreement with the LCP.

“Although the machine is installed in a specific area, the reading is valid depending on the lifetime of pollution. PM2.5, for example, can travel to as far as 1000 kms, until it bumps into a surface or gets washed off by rain. Models can determine the geographical range where the measurement will be valid, and we are on our way to determining that for our AQMS stations,” explains Dr. Mylene Cayetano, Ph.D., a DOST Balik-Scientist from the UP Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology who leads data interpretation on the AQMS.

 Children most affected by air pollution

Image: Child Health Initiative.org

Image: Child Health Initiative.org

Almost one in seven of the world’s children, 300 million, live in areas with the most toxic levels of outdoor air pollution – six or more times higher than international guidelines – while 2 billion children live in areas which exceed minimum WHO guidelines, according to a major new UNICEF report, ‘Clear the Air for Children’.

“Air pollution is a major contributing factor in the deaths of around 600,000 children under five every year – and it threatens the lives and futures of millions more every day,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.

“Pollutants don’t only harm children’s developing lungs – they can actually cross the blood-brain barrier and permanently damage their developing brains – and, thus, their futures. No society can afford to ignore air pollution.”

Download the UNICEF here.

Breathe to live, not to die

RC Makati’s Mr. Eddie H. Yap, who champions the AQMS project and was president during the project’s launch, said it is RC Makati AQMS project’s aim to bring the urgent agenda of air pollution monitoring to the awareness of the general public.

“I ask our fellow Filipinos this question: Are you breathing to live, or to die? Air pollution is a silent and invisible killer, and unless the public knows about its dangers, they would not be able to take caution and protect themselves,” he said.

 

Get real-time air quality updates from Airtoday.ph. A Rotary Makati public service.
Download the iOS and Android apps for free:
iOS: search ‘airtoday.ph’ on iTunes
Android:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.hangin.ph

Follow Airtoday.ph on Twitter @AirtodayPH or Like the Official Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/RCMakAirtoday

 

United Nations Environment Programme Executive Director Erik Solheim. Image: UNIDO

‘Air pollution is one of the biggest killers of humanity’

The air we breathe lends life to us, but it could also be the invisible killer that is taking our breath away a little every day — without us knowing it.

United Nations Environment Programme executive director Erik Solheim said, citing World Health Organization data, that 7 million people are dying earlier than they should because of air pollution.

“Air pollution is one of the biggest killers of humanity,” he said.

“So many people from Asia are dying from stroke, asthma and other diseases. We need to move from coal into renewable energy, we need to move from vehicles running on gasoline into electric vehicles,  we need to build mass transit systems in all the big cities in Asia.  This is happening rapidly in some places,” he added.

While major Asian metropolises like Singapore are enjoying cleaner air primarily because of efficient mass transit systems, policy frameworks that make private car ownership very limiting, a fast shift to electric vehicle and other sustainable ride-sharing platforms, the Philippines still has a long way to go before it could take this path.

The country needs enabling policies from government to attract private sector investors who are willing to bet their money on the long-term for the better good, to transition to lower-emission and efficient modes of energy generation and public transportation.

Filipinos also need to change their mindsets about pegging one’s economic and social status on the personal ownership of cars.

These are important, major steps that will need engagement at the national level.

While these steps are yet to be taken, what can you do now to protect yourself from this invisible killer?

Be informed about air pollution situation before heading out!

One way to survive the health hazards brought on by air pollution is to make this invisible killer visible.

The Rotary Club of Makati through its then President Mr. Eddie H. Yap launched a public service project to help monitor air quality and raise awareness about the dangers of air pollution.

The Air Quality Monitoring System was launched on March 12 this year on the occasion of the RC Makati’s 50th founding anniversary.

The AQMS aims to bring real-time air quality monitoring data to key cities in Metro Manila and Quezon City at the initial roll out phase, with a possibility of extending to urban centers in the provinces.

In particular, the environmental dust monitoring machine called GRIMM EDM365 from Germany, measures Particulate Matter (PM) 10 and 2.5 concentrations in the air.

Currently, the RC Makati AQMS machines are installed in three locations: EDSA Munoz, Ayala Avenue Makati and recently, at the University of Santo Tomas in Espana Manila.  A data sharing partnership with Lung Center of the Philippines allows RC Makati to show the real time air pollution data at LCP as well, this brings to four the areas where RC Makati’s Air Quality Monitoring System reports data.

Rotary Club Makati’s Air Quality Monitoring System (AQMS) Station 4 in UST Espana. Image: Jimmy Kho, GBC-Phil

Rotary Club Makati’s Air Quality Monitoring System (AQMS) Station 4 in UST Espana. Image: Jimmy Kho, GBC-Phil

RC Makati funded the acquisition of the first two machines. The machines’ measurements meet the equivalent global accuracy standards for EN12341 & EN14907 and US-EPA, GOST R and uses the World Health Organization benchmark 25 ug/m3 for PM 2.5 air quality guideline value. The third machine installed at UST was secured by donation from SteelAsia Manufacturing Corporation, with UST offering rent-free location to house the machine.

Scientific data from the machine is interpreted by DOST Balik-Scientist Dr. Mylene Cayetano, Ph.D. from the University of the Philippines Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology.

“Filipinos should be asking themselves this question: ‘Am I breathing to live or to die?’ With RC Makati’s air quality monitoring system, the public can avoid exposure to high pollutants in the air if they check real-time updates before heading out,” Mr. Yap said.

Air pollution kills. Now what?

This is where getting updates on air quality monitoring comes in.

AQMS data is presented in the website Airtoday.ph which uses color coded charts and a cartoon character to tell you in simple terms whether the air quality is poor, very poor, good or very good at specific times of the day.

Here’s an example of a chart taken for EDSA Munoz at 8AM today, December 16, 2016:

Airtoday.ph chart for EDSA Munoz shows elevated readings of PM 2.5 and PM 10 as of 8AM December 16, 2016.

Airtoday.ph chart for EDSA Munoz shows elevated readings of PM 2.5 and PM 10 as of 8AM December 16, 2016.

The chart indicates that as of 8AM December 16, 2016, air quality over EDSA Munoz is poor, with PM 10 at 47 ug/m3 and PM 2.5 at 36 ug/m3.

The bar graph below where the red dotted line is indicates the World Health Organization standard for PM 2.5, which is set at 25 ug/m3.

A spike above this line indicates raised levels of PM 2.5 in the air, while levels below the line indicates low PM 2.5 presence in the air.

High concentration of PM 2.5 in the air leaves you at no defense against it – to avoid these pollutants from lodging directly onto the gas exchanges of your lungs, you simply need to avoid exposure.

Alert levels on PM 10 indicate that you can either avoid these areas or be ready with a mask or a hanky to trap these pollutants in the air.

By checking the air quality via AIrtoday.ph before you head out, you can actually spare yourself from exposure to these harmful pollutants.

“There is a need to increase the public’s awareness that air pollution kills. The data is there, if people access it and use it to guide their activities, then they stand a better chance to protect themselves against this invisible killer,” Mr. Yap concluded.

Featured image: United Nations Environment Programme executive director Erik Solheim. UNIDO

Get real-time air quality updates from Airtoday.ph. A Rotary Makati public service.
Download the iOS and Android apps for free:
iOS: search ‘airtoday.ph’ on iTunes
Android:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.hangin.ph

Follow Airtoday.ph on Twitter @AirtodayPH or Like the Official Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/RCMakAirtoday/

Rotary Club Makati’s Air Quality Monitoring System (AQMS) Station 4 in UST Espana. Image: Jimmy Kho, GBC-Phil

Rotary Club of Makati activates 4th Air Quality Monitoring Station at UST Espana

University students and residents surrounding the University of Santo Tomas campus in Espana, Manila now have a way to check, before heading outdoors, the real-time air pollution situation in their area, thanks to an Air Quality Monitoring System (AQMS) that was installed in the campus on Monday, November 14. The machine, called Grimm EDM365 environmental […]