Metro to have 2 more Air Quality Monitoring Stations

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01:20 AM January 13th, 2016

After a pilot high-quality air monitoring station was set up by the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City, the Rotary Club of Makati announced plans on Tuesday to add two more—one in Makati City and the other in Baclaran, Parañaque City—to give the public real-time updates on air quality in the metropolis.

“Metro Manila is one of the most polluted areas in Southeast Asia but the people know this [only] based on observation and anecdotal evidence. There is no precise scientific evidence,” Rotary Club of Makati (RCM) president Eduardo Yap said in a press briefing in Makati City.

The event also marked the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the RCM  and the University of the Philippines’ Institute on Environmental Science and Meteorology (UP IESM) on the air quality monitoring project.

According to John Robert Powers president and RCM member John Upton, he has developed emphysema, a lung ailment that makes breathing difficult, after living for more than four decades in Metro Manila.

“I don’t smoke. It is all caused by my 45 years of living in Manila,” Upton said, noting that whenever he goes home to Silang in Cavite province, he feels better.

He noted that while the country has all the laws needed to solve air pollution, these were lacking in implementation.

“In Europe, every weather forecast comes with a report of the pollution index,” Upton said, noting that this was not the case in Metro Manila.

Hoping to be the catalyst in air quality monitoring, the RCM  said its air monitoring project was aimed at pushing government offices “to take immediate steps to strictly implement the provisions of the Clean Air Act.”

“We need a facility that not only monitors and reads air quality but also transmits the data to the public in real-time so that people can take measures to safeguard their health,” Yap said.

Mylene Cayetano, head of the Environmental Pollution Studies Laboratory at UP IESM, told reporters that the Lung Center already has a working air monitoring equipment and that the RCM is working out a data tie-up.

“It is a German-made air and meteorological monitoring unit that is capable of automatically and continuously measuring and recording airborne particulate levels,” she said.

According to her, the two additional air monitoring stations are expected to be in place by March to have a representative sample of the air quality in Metro Manila.

She said that the results of the air monitoring were available on a test website which updates air quality every minute and provides precautionary advice to the public.

A peek at the website revealed that air quality can range from good to poor. When the air quality is poor, the website says that people with respiratory conditions are at some risk.

The website and a partner mobile application will be launched on March 12 to coincide with the Rotary Club of Makati’s 50th anniversary.
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