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DENR eyes international standards-compliant air quality for Metro Manila

By Catherine J. Teves

MANILA, April 28 (PNA) — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources will further exert efforts on bringing Metro Manila's air quality to international standards.

DENR Secretary Ramon Paje has given the assurance, optimistic such efforts will help better protect people and their surroundings from air pollution's adverse impacts.

"DENR vows to move doubly hard to ensure international air quality standards are met throughout the metropolis," he said amid the agency's preparations for implementing the nationwide shift in motor vehicle emission standards from Euro 2 to Euro 4 beginning July 1 this year.

Emissions are "any measurable air contaminant, pollutant, gas stream or unwanted sound from a known source which is passed into the atmosphere," reads DENR Administrative Order (DAO) 2010-23.

Shifting to Euro 4 standards is in line with DAO 2015-04 which also prescribes use of cleaner Euro IV fuel by July 1 this year.

"The requirement for cleaner fuel and stricter emission standards is also part of government efforts to improve air quality in the country, particularly Metro Manila," Paje said.

He expects implementation of Euro 4 standards to result in a 1,000 percent reduction in sulfur content of gasoline and diesel.

Earlier, DENR commenced its campaign against smoke-belching and enhanced its network of air quality monitoring stations to help improve air quality, particularly in urban areas.

"Although air quality in urban areas remains a major challenge, we have scored significant improvements in addressing this problem," Paje said.

He said DENR realized a "steady improvement" in ambient air quality with a 23 percent reduction in concentration of pollutive total suspended particulates (TSPs) in Metro Manila.

Metro Manila's TSP concentration was 166 micrograms per normal cubic meter (ug/Ncm) during the January-June 2010 period, he noted.

That TSP concentration decreased to 128 ug/Ncm during theJanuary-March 2015 period, however, he continued.

"It means we're not far from achieving the 90 ug/Ncm standard," he said.

He also said DENR observed a 32 percent reduction in concentration of pollutive particulate matter 10 (PM10).

From 85 ug/Ncm in the January-June 2011 period, he said PM10 concentration decreased to 58 ug/Ncm in the January-March 2015 period.

The data indicates concentration of PM10 during 2015's first quarter was already lower than the 60 ug/Ncm standard for this air pollutant.

Paje earlier cited need to fix traffic so there can be less air pollution.

He noted traffic causes vehicles to travel longer hours so these still give off emissions during the extra time needed to reach respective destinations.

Less travel time means less vehicle emissions, he added. (PNA)

SCS/CJT

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