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More needs to be done in monitoring air quality: IDIS

An environmental group urged the government to establish more air quality monitoring systems for amid the recent report that 11 of the 15 cities with the cleanest air in Southeast Asia belong to the Philippines, with the city on the sixth spot.

The 2018 Air Quality Report from Switzerland-based IQ AirVisual and Greenpeace air showed that the Philippines cities with the cleanest air are Calamba City, Valenzuela City, and Carmona, Philippines, Parañaque City, Davao City, Makati City, Manila City, Mandaluyong City, Philippines, Balanga, Quezon City, and Las Piñas City.

Mark Peñalver, policy advocacy specialist of the Interface Development Interventions (IDIS), said that while this is welcome news, the government should do more comprehensive monitoring of air quality in the country.

“Based on the 2018 world air quality report, overwhelmingly, 11 of the 15 cleanest regional cities in Southeast Asia are found in the Philippines. Although we welcome this feat, our government and the people should not be complacent in comprehensively monitoring and assessing our air quality,” Peñalver told TIMES in a message.

He also called the government to provide real-time data so that the public will have more understanding of the current situation of the air quality of the country.

“The report also highlighted the fact that ‘Government supported public PM2.5 monitoring is relatively sparse in Southeast Asia’ which includes the Philippines,” Peñalver emphasized.

PM2.5 is a particulate matter (ambient airborne particles), which measures up to 2.5 microns in size, and regarded to have huge health impacts, a CNN report explains.

“Hence, more than anything, this report is a call to the government for the need to establish more real-time air quality monitoring system to comprehensively monitor air quality and provide real-time data for the public to be aware and to understand the country’s air quality,” he added.

Peñalver also noted that “emphasis should be made on enforcing air related laws, specifically the clean air act. Law enforcement also contributes to ensuring air quality.”

“With the result of the study, are we satisfied and happy with the air we are breathing now? Just because we are not seeing these pollutants, it doesn’t mean they are not there slowly jeopardizing our health,” Peñalver called.

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