THE latest air quality test conducted by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) regional office in Northern Mindanao showed that the PM2.5 particle concentration in Cagayan de Oro City is back to normal.
The EMB said PM2.5 particle concentration has gone down to only 44 microgram per normal cubic meter on September 17 to 18 compared to 54 micogram per normal cubic meter on September 15 to 16.
Florencio Dominguez, chief of the EMB-Environmental Monitoring and Enforcement Division, said the latest PM2.5 count is now below the standard of 50 microgram per normal cubic meter.
Dominguez clarified that using surgical masks for protection against harmful air particles is useless.
He said gas masks or masks with smaller holes are safer to use.
"The PM2.5 is even smaller than the holes of the surgical, so it will not work. Kung mag-mask, kadtong gas mask na gyud. Ang bangag should be smaller than the particle size nga imong gi-inhale," he said.
Dominguez said using the right masks can protect people from inhaling harmful particles from smoke or haze, which is dangerous. He said these particles can go directly to one's lungs and can go with the blood circulation.
In an advisory issued by EMB on Wednesday, September 18, EMB-10 regional director Reynaldo Digamo said the occurrence of haze has been observed since September 15 in the city and in parts of Bukidnon.
Digamo advised people with respiratory diseases, like asthma, should limit outdoor exposure during the prevalence of haze.
The public is also discouraged from engaging in all open-burning activities, such as the common "sanitation siga" during the afternoon to avoid aggravating the situation.
Local government units meanwhile are urged to strictly monitor all open-burning activities and other relevant particulate sources in their areas, and mobilize local health offices for intensive monitoring and information dissemination.