ILOILO City – Based on the latest air quality monitoring of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Region 6, the air quality in the city and province of Iloilo is way below the standard total suspended particulate (TSP).
“Which means maayo ang air quality,” said Atty. Ramar Niel Pascua, chief of the Legal Section of EMB-6.
Based on the test conducted by the air quality monitoring station in Oton, Iloilo the TSP in the area is 37 microgram per normal cubic meter while in La Paz station, the TSP is 57 microgram per normal cubic meter.
The normal TSP is 230 microgram per normal cubic meter, said Pascua.
“Waay siya kalapaw sa standard naton which means maayo aton air quality,” he added.
From weekly monitoring, EMB-6 now conducts daily monitoring of air quality due to a threat of haze.
Pascua explained that in Iloilo, the results were taken through manual laboratory process unlike in Negros wherein the results are garnered automatically.
He said the air quality test – using particulate matter 10 – in Negros Occidental on Wednesday reached 150 microgram per normal cubic meter that significantly increased from 13 microgram per normal cubic meter two days ago.
“Nagtupong gid siya sa aton standard which is 150 microgram per normal cubic meter,” he added. “Kon na notice naton, sa Cebu nagtaas man so possibly affected ang Negros.”
“Nag-advise kita sa Negros to take precautionary measures like gamit sang surgical mask para ma-lessen or ma-mitigate ang effect sang particulate matter test or kon ano man da nga pollution sa aton surroundings,” Pascua said.
“For Iloilo, tama man ka nubo 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 added.
Officials recently said parts of the Visayas and Mindanao were seeing hazy skies due to neighboring Indonesia’s forest fires.
The EMB on Sunday warned that intense forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan could cause “high levels of air pollution” that could be blown towards the southern part of the Philippines.
Regional offices of the EMB confirmed the existence of haze in Central Visayas and SOCCSKSARGEN but did not link this directly to the Indonesia fires. They are also conducting air quality tests to determine whether pollution has reached the dangerous levels.
Air quality in the towns of General Santos City, Koronadal City and Tupi in South Cotabato was in “good and fair condition” as of Saturday.
This would not be the first time that haze from Indonesia reached the Philippines. In 2015, haze – made up of fine dust, smoke or light vapor that obscures part of the atmosphere – clouded southern Mindanao and reached all the way to Bohol.
Health officials warned it may lead to eye irritation, itchy and runny nose, sneezing, dry throat and coughs.
According to CNN Indonesia, more than 930,000 hectares of land have been razed, hundreds of residents evacuated and more than 9,000 personnel were deployed to battle the flames.
Nearby, Singapore and Malaysia were both choked in a dense haze all week, with air quality reaching unhealthy levels.
The fires were allegedly caused by farmers using slash-and-burn techniques to clear the ecologically rich land – the same practice that led to the uncontrollable fires in the Brazilian Amazon this summer. (CNN Philippines/PN)