Air quality

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By Alah Sungduan

Stand Up for Life

Thursday, May 15, 2014


WHAT is the truth? Is Baguio City really considered the most polluted city in the entire Philippines as reported in the national media quoting a 2014 World Health Organization Report?

City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the news citing Baguio as the most polluted city in the country has no basis at all. This, according to a position statement sent by WHO Country office Wednesday though email.

In the weekly program Ugnayang Panlungsod aired live by radio station DZEQ and Sky Cable TV Baguio on Wednesday, Domogan read the official position of WHO Country Office dated May 14 clarifying the controversial issue.

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“WHO would like to clarify that the suggestion of some commentators that 'Baguio City is the most polluted city in the Philippines' has no basis and is not the conclusion of WHO,” the letter say.

It was on May 7, 2014 when WHO released a global report on air quality covering 1,600 cities across 91 countries. Results show that the air quality in most cities worldwide fails to meet the organization’s guidelines for safe levels putting people at additional risk of respiratory disease and other health problems.

The letter also cleared that the objective of the WHO report was not to rank cities but to determine the overall trends in air quality which included data from three cities in the country-Baguio, Manila, and Cebu.

Since the report does not include the air quality data of all the cities in the country, WHO said it is impossible to rank cities in terms of air quality from the report.

For his part, Domogan said the air quality data gathered might have been only concentrated at Km zero lower session road where the air quality monitoring system was installed.

While it is true he said that based on the Annual Air Quality Results in 2010 there were some periods where the air quality within the area have exceeded the PM-10 Ambient Air Quality Guideline, this does not reflect the air quality of the entire city.

In the said report, the recorded period of high air pollution was on February 27, 2010 until March 3, 2010. The said period was the time when Session Road was closed for the Panagbenga Festival’s Session Road in Bloom celebration.

Many efforts and mitigating measures were already done by the local government and concerned government agencies to ensure a good air quality in the city. This should continue to be implemented with the support of all the sectors of the society.

Amidst this challenge the city is facing, where its image is again at stake, affecting its prime industry, is the appeal for the observance of prudence in disseminating any information to the public through the use of media.

For comments and topic suggestions, email alahsungduan@gmail.com.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 16, 2014.

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