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Zoning may help address Metro Manila air woes
K. L. Alave, BusinessWorld (19 Aug 2004)

MANILA, PHILIPPINES: Health experts who made a study pointing to the deteriorating state of Metro Manila's air want the government and local officials to review zoning laws and limit the construction of industrial plants within the metropolis.

"[T]here is a need to review the zoning plan of Metro Manila to identify industrial growth in the inner cities where air pollution levels have consistently exceeded the national guidelines," the study, entitled Public Health Monitoring of the Metro Manila Air Quality Improvement Sector Development Program, states.

The study, which was conducted in May 2002-2003, said the quality of Metro Manila air is poor and way above acceptable levels due to vehicular and industrial emissions.

Elma B. Torres, the study's team leader, said local governments "should have a zoning plan. There should be no industries in Metro Manila."

However, she admitted that relocating factories away from Metro Manila is impossible as these factories are leading employers and revenue source for local governments.

Instead, she recommended that local governments limit the construction of industrial plants, which should be built in economic zones in the Calabarzon area or up north.

She also urged local officials to order existing industrial plants to install pollution control devices and monitor emissions regularly.

To lower pollution levels, the study also recommended the expansion of mass transit system, the use of efficient engines and fuels, and the strict implementation of better traffic management.

Ms. Torres said policies should be likewise directed at reducing pollutant emissions from motor sources.

Ronald D. Subida, the team's epidemiologist, said the government should expand the rail transit system.

Having one franchise and lane for buses will also be effective in lowering pollution and solving traffic problems, he added, but admitted such is not "economically viable" and would be opposed by many transport groups.

Copyright © 2004 BusinessWorld Online, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

http://www.bworld.com.ph/current/TheEconomy/ecostory5.html

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