MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has urged Metro Manila residents to be more conscious in reducing air pollution for a "healthy metropolis."
Secretary Ramon Paje reminded the public to actively participate in the "car-free day" campaign, which urges motorists to use public transportation and bikes to reduce carbon emissions and conserve energy resources.
"We need the cooperation of the public and the civil society. We want to reach acceptable air quality levels so that we can really sell Metro Manila as a tourist destination, as you know, as a healthy metropolis," Paje said in a statement released Wednesday.
Paje noted that there are simple ways to help limit individual air emissions such as walking, using bikes, carpooling, conserving electricity, and consuming energy efficient products.
"Everyone needs to do his part to improve air quality. In fact, there are simple things that we can do to reduce air pollution and help clean up the air we breathe," he said.
Paje earlier said air quality in Metro Manila has improved as both the amount of total suspended particulates (TSP) and the level of particulate matter 10 microns in diameter or smaller (PM10) had decreased.
According to data, the TSP level in Metro Manila was recorded at 106ug/Ncm (micrograms per normal cubic meter) as of the third quarter of 2012, only 16ug/Ncm short of the acceptable level of 90ug/Ncm set by the World Health Organization.
"We were able to bring it down by around 36 percent because it is now at 106. It is still polluted but we are now closing to the standard," Paje said.
The environment secretary partly attributed the decline in air pollution levels to the collaboration of the DENR with other government agencies and the private sector in various air quality programs, including mandatory vehicle emissions testing.