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Breaking news on NYE air pollution

From: Airtoday.ph, a public service of Rotary Club of Makati air monitoring team

January 1, 2019

Real-Time NYE air pollution levels at an all-time low but lingered longer

For the fourth straight year, the public service website www.airtoday.ph of the Rotary Club of Makati provided real-time air pollution warning on the levels of inhalable and respirable air due to the effects of fireworks in Metro Manila. The website is measuring both PM10 and PM2.5 in two locations this NYE: Ayala Avenue in Makati City and Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) in Quezon City, both adjacent to designated community fireworks display sites (Ayala triangle and Quezon Memorial Circle, respectively).

As soon as the clock strikes midnight, both stations recorded “Very Poor” air pollution; with Ayala Avenue Makati Station recorded the highest PM concentration around 1:00 am January 1, 2019 with 114 micrograms per cubic meter of air (ug/m3) for PM10 and 113 ug/m3 for PM2.5, which was well above WHO’s 25 ug/m3 safe standard, but significantly lower (about 24% and 14%) compared to last years’ readings of 149 ug/m3 for PM10 and 131 ug/m3 for PM2.5 for the same station.

Warnings at Ayala Avenue, Makati station (Figure 1) recorded “Poor” air quality between December 31, 2018, 7:00 to 9:00 pm, and 11:00 pm, and then again from January 1, 2019, 4:00 am to 6:00 am.” Very Poor” air quality were recorded right after midnight from January 1, 2019, 12:00 am to 3:00 am.

click the link to see Figure 1:

Around the same time, the LCP station recorded a PM concentration of 99 ug/m3 for PM10 and 98 ug/m3 for PM2.5. Warnings at LCP (Figure 2) recorded “Poor” air quality from December 31, 2018, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, and 11:00 pm, and then again from January 1, 2019, 2:00 to 3:00 am. “Very Poor” air quality were recorded from December 31, 2018, 8:00 to 10:00 pm, and then again from January 1, 2019, 12:00 to 1:00 am.

click the link to see Figure 2:

PM concentrations at both stations were well above WHO safe standard but significantly decreased at around 4:00 am (January 1, 2019), albeit at the Ayala Avenue, Makati Station still maintaining a “Poor” air quality reading (same as last years’) which change to “Moderate” at around 7 am.

Air particulate matter (PM) are tiny dust that can be inhaled or respired, depending on the size of the pollutant. According to Dr. Mylene G. Cayetano, faculty at the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology, UP Diliman and technical expert of www.airtoday.ph, Tropical Depression Usman affected this NYE’s air quality in both positive and negative ways. The rain clouds brought about by Tropical Depression Usman washes away the particles emitted by fireworks and firecrackers. These same rain clouds (combined with colder temperature) prevents polluted air from dissipating farther upward, hence, trapping the particulates from the fireworks on the ground for more extended periods to be ingested into the respiratory system of people in Metro Manila.

Air PM levels for both airtoday.ph stations started to increase as early as 4:00-5:00 pm on December 31, 2018; with air quality index ranging from “Moderate” to “Very Poor”, earlier than previous 2 years which started at 11:00 pm for December 31, 2016 and 8:00 pm for December 31, 2017.

The www.airtoday.ph is a public service initiative by the Rotary Club of Makati since 2016. It aims to synergize actions from the stakeholders, both government and non-government, on mitigating the impacts of air pollution.

For more information on Airtoday.ph, Contact: Mr. Ron Dotaro, Chief of staff, Rotary Club of Makati.

telephone no:899-7863 to 65

Email: rcm3830@gmail.com

#BreatheSafe #AirPollution #AirQualityUpdate #BreatheSafe #PollutionKills #AyalaAvenueMakati #RCM #Airtoday #LungCenterofthePhilippines #LCP #NewYearsEveWatch

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Website: http://airtoday.ph/www2/airtoday-app/airtoday-map/

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A public service by Rotary Club of Makati.

Older men are more prone to cognitive impairment from dirty air

[From The Economist]

A new study from China highlights air-pollution concerns

LIVING under thick layers of smog is known to cause illness and reduce life expectancy. The degree to which pollution harms the mind is less clear. In theory some of the toxins that get inhaled could damage the nervous system and hamper intellect, but few studies have looked into this. One just has, however, and the results are worrying, particularly for older men.

The new study is by Xiaobo Zhang, Xin Zhang and Xi Chen of Peking University, in China. When Dr Zhang returned to China in 2012, after teaching in America, he found it difficult to concentrate during days when the air in Beijing was heavily polluted. He knew from previous research conducted by another lab that young students living in polluted areas performed more poorly in exams, but there was no exploration of whether this held true for a broader population and, if it did, what specific effects the toxins were having on cognitive function.

To find out, the team looked at tests carried out as part of the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS), a survey by Peking University. In 2010 and 2014 the same group of around 20,000 people were tested in standardized mathematics and given a verbal test in word recognition. Crucially, the CFPS logged precise information about the date and location of each test.

Putting this information together allowed the researchers to match test scores at each location with the local air quality as reported by the air-pollution index, a measure that rates pollution levels in different cities across China based on daily readings of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and tiny bits of particulate matter. The index ranges from zero to 500, signifying the highest level of pollution.

As they report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers showed that chronic exposure to pollution lowered the scores on the verbal tests, and that the higher the pollution levels were the more the scores dropped. On average, an increase of 13.23 units (one standard deviation) in the pollution index over the course of three years resulted in a reduction of 1.36 points for men and 0.91 points for women, on the 34-point verbal exam. In contrast, mathematics scores were hardly altered by pollution exposure.

The effects were particularly dramatic in older men who had no education beyond primary school. The data showed that these men lost an average of 9.18 points on the verbal exam if they were exposed to an increase of 13.23 units of pollution over three years. For men who had attended middle school at least, this loss was reduced to just 1.88 points.

Precisely why the mathematics scores barely changed, and why men were harmed most, remains unclear. Dr Zhang speculates that pollutant damage is probably accumulating in the white matter of the brain, which people depend upon more heavily for verbal tasks; and men have less white matter than women. It is possible, too, that men with a poor education may work outside, and are thus more exposed to air pollution. Whatever the reasons, the results ought to be food for thought in polluted cities everywhere.