EMB: Air quality still erratic, wear masks

By: Inquirer, Michelle Joy L. Padayhag, Victor Anthony V. Silva October 29,2015 - 02:53 AM

THE air quality in Metro Cebu improved yesterday, but the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) is not yet lifting its advisory to wear protective masks.

William Cuñado, EMB-7 regional director for Central Visayas, said their monitoring showed that the amount of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 in the air still varies, sometimes exceeding the tolerable limit.

PM2.5 are air particles  smaller than 2.5 micrometers, fine  enough to enter the bloodstream and cause heart and respiratory ailments. EMB said  forest fires in Indonesia were a major cause of the haze, or reduced visibility, observed in the Visayas and Mindanao recently.

Round-the-clock monitoring of air quality in the region continues. Daily media briefings will be held.

As of yesterday, the amount of PM2.5 in the air averaged only 39 micrograms per Normal cubic meter (µg/Nm³), which was just half of the tolerable limit of 75 µg/Nm³.

“Though the air quality has improved, continuous inhalation and exposure even to smaller concentrations of particles may result to its accumulation in the body causing health problems,” the EMB-7 advisory stated.

Those with heart or lung diseases, children and older adults should continue wearing N95 dust masks and goggles.

From Tuesday to Wednesday,  Oct. 27 to  28, the air quality in Cebu City was “within the standard allowable limit”.   (See table).

COMPLAINTS

Cuñado also said his office received a text message about some residents of barangay Valencia in Carcar City, about 40 kilometers south of Cebu City, complaining of difficulty in breathing.

Cebu Provincial Health Office (PHO) chief Dr. Cynthia Genesolango said she will send personnel to check the report.

Dr. Grace Alcoseba, Carcar city health officer, said she was also verifying reports that three children and an adult were admitted to the district hospital for respiratory problems.   Face masks can help, she said.

Carcar Mayor Nicepuro Apura said he will heed Alcoseba’s recommendations, although he believed the situation is not alarming because “these are only suspected cases.”

In Cebu City, Department of Health (DOH)-7 Regional Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas said they recorded no increase in respiratory diseases in the region.

He said they were still collating data, though.

Lapu-Lapu City health officer Dr. Rodulfo Berame and Mandaue City health officer Dr. Edna Seno made the same observation.

HAZE-FREE

In Manila, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) announced yesterday that there is no more haze in the country based on the latest satellite wind tracking system and their visibility observations.

Science and Technology Assistant Secretary Raymund Liboro assured that normal atmospheric conditions will be experienced throughout the country.

He said there was  no existing weather system that could influence wind direction and bring the haze back to the country.

Liboro said the southwest wind (habagat) enhanced by typhoon Lando brought the haze to the Philippines, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao, from Oct. 14 to 24.

A shift in wind direction to the northeast moved the haze away from the country as of yesterday.

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TAGS: Cebu, Cebu Provincial Health Office, EMB-7, Environmental Management Bureau, forest fire, haze, Metro Cebu, William Cuñado

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