Fear no haze: DOH 7 urges public

THE public need not be alarmed with the haze that hit parts of Metro Cebu, a regional health official said.

However, everybody is urged to wear masks and other protective gear, said Dr. Jaime Bernadas, Department of Health (DOH) 7 director.

Bernadas said there is no reason for the public to panic even though the haze, believed to be brought about by clouds of smoke from Indonesian wildfires and enhanced by the Southwest monsoon, has exceeded the “healthy level.”

“It does not affect our daily lives. For now, we just have to be conscious to the susceptible population, those with respiratory illnesses, by minimizing their exposure... But the general population should continue with their lives but with precautions such as wearing dust masks,” he said.

Short-term exposure to high levels of haze particles may cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat in healthy individuals. Such irritation resolves on its own in most cases, according to website

Haze particles can also affect the heart and lungs, especially in people who already have chronic heart or lung disease such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or heart failure.

The particulate matter (PM) 2.5 test conducted by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) 7 indicates that the haze has become unhealthy, exposing “toddlers, elderly, those with allergies and those with respiratory illnesses” to risks, said Bernadas. (PM 2.5 is a dust particle measuring 2.5 micrometers in diameter or about three percent the diameter of a human hair.)

In the past three days, some parts of Metro Cebu have been covered in haze, which occurs when dust and smoke particles accumulate in relatively dry air.

As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, the EMB’s PM 2.5 test has a reading of 56 micrograms per normal cubic meter, according to engineer Cindylyn Ochea, EMB 7 chief of the ambient air and water quality monitoring section.

Exceeding the safe guideline value of 50 micrograms per normal cubic meter is already considered an unhealthy level, said Ochea.

Due to some technical problems, the EMB 7 was not able to release the 24-hour reading of the PM 2.5 test on Thursday, Sept. 19. (WBS)


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