MANILA — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Saturday said air pollution levels in Metro Manila dropped “substantially” by an average of 59 percent on the first day of 2021 despite Filipino revelries in the pandemic.
In a statement, the DENR said Metro Manila mayors’ support for the firecracker ban and limiting its use to community display only was a factor.
The department’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) recorded an average concentration of 87 micrograms per normal cubic meter (ug/Ncm) of particulate matter (PM 10) from December 31, 2020 midnight to January 1 from 6 air quality monitoring stations (AQMS) in Caloocan, Marikina, Navotas, Pasig, Parañaque and Taguig.
“Last year, the 6 AQMS yielded an average of 213 ug/Ncm, thereby accounting for a 59-average percent drop compared to its New Year’s Eve (NYE) data in January 1, 2020,” the statement read.
The steepest drop in air pollution levels was recorded in the following stations, according to DENR.
- Naval St., Navotas City (99 percent) from 209 ug/Ncm in 2020 to 1.34 ug/Ncm in 2021
- Oranbo, Pasig City (95 percent) from 130 ug/Ncm in 2020 to 7 ug/Ncm in 2021
- Bicutan, Taguig City (78 percent) from 355 ug/Ncm in 2020 to 79 ug/Ncm in 2021
- Marikina Justice Hall open compound, Marikina City (34 percent) from 189 ug/Ncm in 2020 to 124 ug/Ncm in 2021
- Caloocan City Hall Annex, Caloocan City (29 percent) from 332 ug/Ncm in 2020 to 235 ug/Ncm in 2021
The department emphasized that only the station at Don Bosco barangay hall compound in Parañaque City registered a 21-percent increase from 62 ug/Ncm in 2020 to 75 ug/Ncm in 2021.
The Manila city station, meanwhile, measured a high 93.5 ug/Ncm about 1 a.m. on January 1 from a reading of 40.9 ug/Ncm at 11 p.m. on December 31, 2020, citing the EMB report.
Lower concentrations of PM2.5
New Year’s Eve has “significantly lower” PM2.5 concentrations compared to in 2020, said the DENR.
“Compared to PM10, PM2.5 pollutants are finer particles usually emitted by vehicles and burning plants,” the report read.
It added that PM2.5 pollutants could reach a person’s lungs once inhaled which could cause respiratory and circulatory diseases, brain damage, and cancer.