By Ellalyn de Vera-Ruiz
Hazy atmosphere due to pollution once again greeted Metro Manila residents on Wednesday morning.
Based on the data by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB), as of 8 a.m. Wednesday, particulate matter—an indicator for air pollution—over Mandaluyong City reached an “unhealthy” level of 104 micrograms per cubic meter.
Air quality index between 101 and 150 micrograms per cubic meter means that the air is “unhealthy for sensitive groups” and “should limit outdoor exertion.” Most at risk are “people with respiratory disease, such as asthma.”
Haze usually occurs when dust particles, smoke, and other pollutants mostly from motor vehicles and industrial establishments, are accumulated in the atmosphere.
Meanwhile, air quality indices in other areas, namely North Caloocan, Las Piñas City, Malabon City, Marikina City, and Parañaque City, were “fair” (51-100 micrograms per cubic meter), which means there was “moderate health risk concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.”
San Juan, Pasig City, and Taguig City had “good” (below 50 micrograms per cubic meter) air quality indices.
The National Ambient Air Quality Guideline Value for particulate matter (PM) 2.5 or particle less than 2.5 micrometers is set at 50 micrograms per cubic meter or lower for an average of 24 hours or a short period, and 25 micrograms per cubic meter for an average of one year or long period.
PM 2.5 is a fine particle found in smoke and haze and can be directly emitted from sources, such as forest fires or they can form when gases emitted by power plants, industries and vehicles react in the air.
Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health problems.