Air quality still good despite haze – EMB-6

A child wears a facial mask following the haze warning hoisted over the city and province of Iloilo by weather bureau PAG-ASA. But environment officials assured that air quality in Iloilo remain clean despite the haze caused by forest fires in Indonesia. (Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN News)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

AMID the threats of haze caused by the ongoing forest fires in Indonesia, the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)-6 assured that air quality levels in both the city and province of Iloilo are stable and safe.

Atty. Ramar Niel Pascua, chief of EMB-6’s Legal Division, said latest air quality tests conducted by their office indicated that there was no sudden increase in particulate matter levels in Iloilo. This means that air quality is still normal.

Pascua said the air quality monitoring station of EMB-6 in Oton also indicated that the total suspended particulate (TSP) is at 37 microgram per normal cubic meter while the La Paz station is at 57 microgram per normal cubic meter.

“The standard or normal TSP is 230 microgram per normal cubic meter and Iloilo is way below the standard TSP which means maayo ang air quality naton diri,” he said.

Pascua said they will issue another update sometime in the afternoon of September 20, 2019 as they continue to monitor the air quality in Iloilo.

Despite stable air quality levels, he cautioned the residents particularly those suffering with lung-related diseases to use surgical masks.

Tama man ka nubo diri pero sa iban nga may hapo nga dali maapektuhan sang air pollution gamit sila sang mask para nga mahagan-hagan ang epekto sa ila sang pollution,” he said.

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has issued a bulletin for haze caused by forest fires in Indonesia. The haze moves to the country due to the Southwest monsoon or Habagat.

PAGASA issued haze alerts in Iloilo, Palawan, Masbate, Antique, Guimaras, Negros Occidental
Negros Oriental, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Dinagat, Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Bukidnon, Maguindanao, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato, Davao de Oro, Davao Oriental, Davao Occidental, Davao del Norte, and Davao del Sur including Davao City.

Haze, which is a sign of air pollution caused by fine particles, may cause severe health problems such as worsening of heart or lung disease, heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, worsening of asthma, and other symptoms, such as throat irritation, coughing or difficulty breathing, PAGASA warned.

EMB in Central Visayas already confirmed the presence of haze in Metro Cebu which is believed to have originated from the forest fires in Indonesia.