Elevate air pollution problem in post-ECQ “new normal” agenda – UPD scientist

| Posted by UP Media and Public Relations Office

Oblation at UP Baguio (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)
Oblation at UP Baguio (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)


A scientist from the University of the Philippines-Diliman Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology has called on all sectors to consider putting the issue and solutions to the air pollution problem in the higher agenda for a post-enhanced community quarantine (post-ECQ) “new normal” Philippines.

“If we wish to maintain ‘good air quality’ to be the ‘new normal’, we have to make conscious choices in our activities pre-ECQ”, said Dr. Mylene Cayetano, an Associate Professor from the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology.

Dr. Cayetano, who advocates clean air for all, called on the government to (1) strengthen the long-term solutions that are being discussed (inclusive mobility, mass transport system, green cities, urban planning, road space to non-motorized transport systems, fuel economy, clean energy), and make them happen fast; (2) increase transparency in the emission testing system, proper and rightful apprehension to emission testing violators; (3) set-up more motor vehicle inspection systems; (4) insure road worthiness compliance to all vehicles (including armored vehicles, nothing and nobody should be exempt!); and most importantly, (5) think about protecting our hospital zones, which are located along major thoroughfare with trucks and pre-euro vehicles fleeting along.

For individuals, Dr. Cayetano recommends the following choices: (1) if you own a vehicle, avoid unnecessary idling; (2) avoid burning solid wastes in open spaces; (3) avoid smoking in public places; (4) be responsible with your own vehicle. Follow the periodic maintenance schedule and minimum protocols and drive a road-worthy vehicle; (5) inform as many people as you can about the disadvantages and benefits of clean air, because knowledge is power; and (6) learn more about the science of air pollution and how you can help prevent it by check Airtoday.ph before you head out.

“Clean air in cities has become a luxury. Normally, we need to go to the seaside or the lush provinces to breathe in cleaner air. And it took us a total lockdown, a number of front liners (COVID-19 mortalities) to attain this. Not to mention the trillions lost in the stock market, and jobs lost by our fellowmen. LGU funds are depleted to feed the people. We wouldn’t want this scenario again to attain clean air,” she said.