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Clearing the Air: A Forum on Monitoring and Reporting Air Quality in Metro Manila
Key organizations engaged in air quality monitoring in Metro Manila discussed their findings and methodology with stakeholders.


October 5, 2004

ADB Headquarters, MANILA - The fully-automated Metro Manila air quality monitoring network has been operating for almost a year now. Prior to this network system and until today, the Environmental Management Bureau - Department of Environment and Natural Resources (EMB-DENR), as well as the Manila Observatory and the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) have been separately conducting various monitoring activities in Metro Manila.

The Manila Observatory (MO), the Partnership for Clean Air (PCA) and the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia) through the assistance of the Public Awareness Component of the ADB Metro Air (formerly MMAQISDP) program, have jointly organized "Clearing the Air: A Forum on Monitoring and Reporting Air Quality in Metro Manila" to discuss how the different approaches can be used towards effective air quality management in Metro Manila.

The forum provided a venue to report on the current status of air quality (AQ) monitoring and the development of reporting guidelines for AQ monitoring data generated by the various AQ stations in Metro Manila. The forum was able to show how the existing air quality monitoring activities of the different organizations have collaborated in the past and how the data generated compliment each other.

The salient points of the forum include the following:

  1. The results of the ambient air monitoring activities of MO, the PNRI and the continuous air quality monitoring stations of DENR showed that the main pollutants of concern for Metro Manila are particulate matter and ozone. These pollutants are measured to have high levels of concentration that either approach the standards or exceed them.
  2. Roadside monitoring activities of the DENR are very important in reflecting the extent of contribution of mobile sources to air pollution. The current monitoring is limited only to TSP (total suspended particulates) but there is a need to intensify the campaign and build capacity to monitor smaller particles (e.g. PM 10 and PM2.5) and gaseous pollutants.
  3. Equally important with data generation is coming up with sound data analysis that can readily be disseminated to the users (researchers, general public, and policymakers) without compromising quality. There is also a need to fast track the development of the air pollution indices (API) that can effectively communicate the information and educate the general public.
  4. The local governments are among the most important users of the data and potentially the best able to respond to the problem. There is a need to encourage participation from the local governments and increase the coordination with the EMB. As an initial activity, CAI-Asia will facilitate a dialogue between the Makati City government (a CAI-Asia city-member) and EMB, as well as Manila Observatory and PNRI.

A number of interesting issues and topics were raised during the forum, including the possibility of making the activity more frequent. The next similar activity will be on the 1st or 2nd of December where Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogota, Colombia, will share the success story of the city's Bus-Rapid Transit System (BRT).

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