'City air, noise pollution can shorten life'


Posted at Nov 14 2011 07:19 PM | Updated as of Nov 16 2011 10:48 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Is it better to live in the city or in the province? It depends on how you look at it, said Dr. Willy Ong, a Department of Health consultant.

The city may give you more access to a number of services compared to the province, but its noise and polluted air can shorten your life.

Citing studies, Ong said those living in the city, particularly near major thoroughfares such as EDSA, have shorter lives because they tend to take in more particulate matter such as sulfur and nitrogen oxides.

Long-term exposure to these, he said, can cause pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, stroke and heart disease.

"Ito pag nalanghap natin, namamaga 'yung mga ugat," he said in an interview on ABS-CBN's "Salamat Dok" over the weekend.

"Pero pag short-term lang ang exposure mo, maglakad lang tayo sa EDSA ng 10 minutes, mamaya mapula na mata mo, barado ang ilong, kumakati ang lalamunan," he added.

A study by the University of the Philippines' College of Public Health showed that 32% of jeepney drivers surveyed had emphysema, a long-term progressive disease of the lungs.

About 16% of and 14% of air-con bus drivers and commuters surveyed, respectively, have the disease.

Given these, Ong gave these tips to stay away from air pollution:

  • Make it a point to go to the province at least once a week. If you can't go out of town, go to a place where the air is clean, or a place where there are many plants and trees.
  • Plant trees around your home. Or at the very least, get some potted plants.
  • Stop smoking.

Too much noise

Noise pollution, meanwhile, can cause high blood pressure, heart disease and deafness, Ong said.

"Ang normal conversation, 40 decibels, okay lang 'yan. Pero 'yung medyo malakas na sigawan, mga vacuum cleaner, 50 to 70 decibels. 'Pag exposed ka sa ganyang ingay nang matagalan, 'yung katawan mo iniisip niya stress eh," he explained.

"Kaya pag maingay, di ba inis tayo, naiirita tayo. 'Yung mataas na noise talaga, it causes deafness. Sixty percent ng taong edad 65 and above mayroon talagang hearing loss eh."

He then gave these tips to avoid the negative effects of city noise:

  • Wear ear plugs to protect your ears from too much noise. If you don't have ear plugs, hum a tune. It will lessen the noise by as much as 10%.
  • Make it a point to rest and sleep in a quiet room.
  • As much as possible, speak in a normal voice. Don't shout and don't let yourself be shouted at.
  • Don't turn up the volume too high.