DENR: 33 air monitoring stations in Metro Manila need upgrade

Bella Cariaso – The Philippine Star

September 25, 2023 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The 33 air monitoring stations in Metro Manila need upgrading to ensure accurate data, an official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said over the weekend, after pollution-related smog smothered Metro Manila residents on Friday, forcing local government units to suspend classes due to poor air quality and visibility.

In a radio interview, DENR Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) National Capital Region Environment Monitoring Enforcement Division officer-in-charge Linel Manayang added that the air has improved in Metro Manila after some parts were deemed “acutely unhealthy” for residents on Friday.

“So far, we have 33 air quality monitoring stations in Metro Manila situated in all the cities, including the municipality of Pateros. So far, all the air quality monitoring equipment is properly maintained and operational, but some need to be upgraded for better catchment and good result of air quality data, so that our readings will be more accurate,” Manayang said.

He said that the EMB plans to increase the monitoring screens in Metro Manila to inform the public of the actual air quality in their respective areas.

“We have a data center, wherein all the results of the air quality monitoring stations are being captured in real time, and we flash in certain public places like in Ortigas. We have identified possible additional sites like Parañaque, Commonwealth Ave. to install additional screens where the public can have air quality real time monitoring,” Manayang added.

According to him, the air quality in Metro Manila ranged from good to fair in the last days, but deteriorated on Friday due to the volume of vehicles in the streets.

“Our normal (air quality) was only 35 (micrograms per normal cubic meter or µg/Ncm), but on Friday the air quality in some areas reached 128,141 µg/Ncm,” Manayang explained.

The DENR classifies air quality of 101 to 150 µg/Ncm as unhealthy as people with respiratory disease such as asthma are advised to limit outdoor exposure; while air quality of 151 to 200 µg/Ncm is considered as very unhealthy as pedestrians are advised to avoid heavy traffic areas; and 201 to 300 µg/Ncm as acutely unhealthy as pedestrians should limit outdoor exposure.

Based on the monitoring of the EMB on Sept. 22, the air quality index (AQI), which monitors six criteria pollutants to determine how clean or polluted the air is, reached as high as 217 points in Parañaque City, 141 points in Pateros and 128 points in Makati.

“The high air quality level, which resulted in smog, was due to excessive emission of heavy traffic, especially during rush hour,” Manayang added.

Based on latest data from the DENR, the air quality in Mandaluyong City and Antipolo City in Rizal ranged between 51 and 100 µg/Ncm or classified as fair; and between one and 50 µg/Ncm or good in Caloocan City, Makati City, Parañaque City, Pateros, San Juan City, Taguig City, Pateros and Batangas.


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