'Unhealthy' smoke from firecrackers chokes Metro


Posted at Jan 01 2017 03:44 PM | Updated as of Jan 01 2017 04:05 PM

Smog from New Year's revelry is seen in Antipolo city, Philippines January 1, 2017. Czar Dancel, Reuters

MANILA - Smoke from the annual New Year's revelries enveloped the capital of roughly 12 million people in "unhealthy" air, the environment department said Sunday.

The Air Quality Index in Metro Manila reached 200 early Sunday morning, four times the "normal" level based on US standards, according to data from the Environment Management Bureau.

The index considers a reading of 200 as "unhealthy" and 301 to 500 as "hazardous."

Early morning showers were not enough to neutralize the pollution from firecrackers, said Arnel Bautista, technical consultant ng Coalition of Clean Air Advocates of the Philippines.

"Yung ulan it's supposed to scrub off particulate matters or yung pollutants...kaso hindi pa rin sapat yung naging pag-ulan para bawasan yung particulate na pollutant sa hangin," ani Bautista.

(The rain, it's supposed to scrub off particulate matters or pollutants... however, it's not enough to reduce air pollution," he said.

Some 60 percents of people with respiratory ailments fell ill due to air pollution, said Vic Chua, the coalition's medical director. -- reports from Angel Movido, ABS-CBN News