MANILA, Philippines – The quality of air in Metro Manila "has considerably improved," Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje said.
Citing data gathered from the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), Paje said the level of air pollution in the metropolis during the second half of 2010 was reduced by 20%.
He added that in 2009, the level of total suspended particulates (TSP) in Metro Manila was at 130 micrograms per normal cubic meters (ìg/Ncm), or 44% more than the standard of 90 ìg/Ncm.
For the first half of 2010, air pollution worsened to a level of 166 ìg/Ncm, or 84% beyond the standard.
In second half of 2010, the TSP level declined to 133 ìg/Ncm.
Paje said in a press statement that while the recorded TSP level remains still above the standard, it showed "significantly better air quality."
Seventy percent of air pollution in Metro Manila is attributed to vehicular emissions.
Paje attributed the improvement in the air quality to government agencies’ efforts.
The environment chief added that under the Aquino administration, the government strengthened regulation and enforcement of rules on air pollution, particularly with the setting of more stringent standards in air emissions.
Concerned government agencies have also been working together in implementing measures to reduce traffic, as well as to ensure compliance with emission testing prior to vehicle registration, Paje added.
"All these we do, as we believe in the UN declaration that access to clean air and clean water is a basic human right," he said.
World Bank studies show that the exposure of 18 million Filipinos to air pollution causes health problems that lead to lack of productivity, translating to an annual loss of income amounting to P7.6 billion.