Air quality in Baguio’s six critical areas to be monitored

BAGUIO CITY – (9 February 2021) – The city government and the Environmental Management Bureau Cordillera (EMB-CAR) will closely monitor the air quality in six identified critical areas to serve as basis in the formulation of appropriate interventions that will contribute in overall efforts to improve the air quality in Baguio.

City Environment and Parks Management Officer Atty. Rhenan Diwas disclosed that the six identified critical areas in the city that have registered air quality beyond the “fair and unhealthy” category for vulnerable sectors include the roads surrounding the City Hall and the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), Happy Homes, Veteran’s Park, People’s Park, University of the Philippines College Baguio (UPCB) vicinity and Pacdal.

He stated that the CEPMO and the EMB-CAR agreed to harmonize the air quality data in the national and local levels so that there will be a unified data that will serve as a reference in guiding decision-makers and policy-makers in the formulation of strategies towards improving the air quality.

The city was able to gather the accumulated air quality data from 25 different sampling stations in the different parts of the city from 2013 to 2020. Air quality assessment ranged from good to unhealthy depending on the activity of people and the presence of motor vehicles that served as the primary source of pollutants in the city’s air at different timelines.

However, Diwas explained that if there were identified critical areas in the city, there are also areas that were able to sustain good air quality such as in the Dominican Heritage Hill and Nature Park and the Camp John Hay area.

Aside from harmonizing the air quality data on the national and local levels, the city’s environment officer said there is a need to frequently announce the air quality from the 25 monitoring stations around the city for the awareness of the public.

“We hope to be able to issue public advisories on our air quality to guide the people so they can take the necessary precautions by wearing face mask, if needed, especially for the vulnerable sectors of the society,” Diwas said.

He added that people should not get mad at the city for the deployment of the members of the roadside inspection, testing and monitoring action team to check on the emission of motor vehicles near the identified critical areas because it is one of the measures that had been put in place to prevent the worsening of the air quality.

Diwas asserted that motor vehicle emissions plying the city’s roads has been identified by experts as one of the pollutants in the air, thus, the need for the formulation of overall interventions that will abate the continuous emission of pollutants. – Dexter A. See