September 1, 2008 – 6:21 p.m.
An activist environmental group is not convinced at all in the Metro Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) claim of cleaner air. Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (KPNE) branded MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando’s claim as pure air.
Fernando declared that there was a 50-percent drop in the air pollution level of Metro Manila due to the massive sweeping and vacuuming of roadways initiated by the MMDA.
Bautista said, “Maybe the ever-arrogant Chairman is hallucinating from the polluted air he breathed in EDSA or just campaigning for 2010.”
The group pointed out that they found no scientific study or data showing that air pollution levels in Metro Manila have dropped. “There is no recent air quality status report, which just goes to show that clean air monitoring in the country is ineffective,” said Bautista.
The KPNE said that even the technical paper published by the World Bank concluded that average Total Suspended Particulate (TSP) concentrations of Metro Manila are frequently five times higher than the World Health Organization Air Quality Guidelines. Higher than standard TSP means higher pollution. TSP is used to measure particulate matter (PM) present in air. PM is the generic term used for a type of air pollution that consists of complex and varying mixtures of particles suspended in the air.
Based on the weekly Ambient Air Quality Monitoring of EMB, Pasay, Makati, Valenzuela are among the areas that usually exceed the standard 230ug/Ncm for TSP.
Bautista further said, “Manila itself is known to be one the most polluted areas in the Philippines. The areas of Pasay and EDSA, which Mr. Fernando claims to have significantly improved are still among the most polluted areas in Metro Manila in terms of amount of TSP. Now, he wants people to believe that air quality has improved because of his mechanized street sweeping? No sane person would buy that claim,” declared Bautista.
Last year, the joint report of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and World Bank showed there were nearly 4,968 premature deaths each year in Manila due to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases from exposure to poor air quality.
Bautista said, “Mr. Fernando can weave all the tales that he wants but experience and facts tell us that the problem of air pollution, or any environmental issue, has not been resolved. What the government is doing are only palliative measures. The policies and programs of the government do not address the root causes of pollution, much less of environmental degradation in the country.” (Bulatlat.com)