AMID positive strides in the fight for clean air, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is set to mount a bigger and more vigorous multi-sectoral campaign as the country celebrates Clean Air Month.
DENR Secretary Michael T. Defensor called on the public to help stop air pollution through campaigns to be conducted shortly by business, academe, and civil society, among other groups.
This year’s celebration, dubbed "Let’s All Act to Clean the Air", will involve a series of awareness-raising activities on clean air programs nationwide being pushed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Among these activities are the conduct of symposia and fora on the Clean Air Act and the impact to health and environment of air pollution for stakeholders such as industries, transport sector, local government units (LGUs), the academe and the media; orientation/seminar on preventive vehicle maintenance for cleaner air for tricycle drivers in key cities in Metro Manila; free emissions-testing for private and public vehicles in campuses, malls, transport terminals, government agencies and nationwide roadside apprehension.
Tree planting, stack emission testing of industries under the program "Bantay Tsimineya" and other awareness campaigns like film showings, photo exhibits, poster and slogan contests and distribution of IEC materials on air-related topics will also be conducted.
"Sustaining efforts and forging partnerships from all sectors of society to clean the air are part of the central thrusts of the Department and of this year’s celebration of the Clean Air Month," Defensor said.
An advocacy campaign on clean air will enlist the participation of schools and subdivisions in Metro Manila.
Through the years, government has come up with a holistic approach to cleaning the air – starting from the introduction of unleaded gasoline in the market to the enacting of the Philippine Clean Air Act. The government set emission standards that will help curb air pollution both from stationary sources (power plants, factories and industries) and from mobile sources (cars, jeeps, buses, tricycles and other motor vehicles).
The milestones that have been collectively achieved by the different agencies mandated to support the Clean Air Act include the establishment by the EMB-DENR of the Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Network in Metro Manila airshed to regularly monitor air quality at any given hour using state-of-the-art technology.
To date, DENR has designated 16 airsheds nationwide to effectively manage the country’s air quality program and put up nine Automated Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations and one Mobile Monitoring Station – meant to measure the ambient air quality – which translates to the general amount of pollution present in a broad area. Eleven manually–operated air quality monitoring stations were also installed to monitor and measure roadside ambient air quality and Total Suspended Particulates (TSP).
Airshed refers to areas with common weather or meteorological conditions and sources of pollution such as industries or vehicles, which affect the interchange or diffusion of pollution in the atmosphere.
In coordination with the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the DENR, private emission testing centers (PETCs) nationwide were given accreditation and authorization to conduct emission testing to private vehicles and issue certificate of emission compliance (CEC) before they can register their vehicles to LTO.
Last year, Secretary Defensor spearheaded the launching of the Linis Hangin program – with its three major components: the Bantay Tambutso, Bantay Tsimineya and Bantay Sunog-Basura, a renewed and intensified anti-air pollution campaign against smoke-belching vehicles and other sources of air pollution.
DENR also promoted the Urban Greening Program establishing more "green zones" in cities using ornamentals plants and different species of "balled" mature trees to create an "instant forest" along major thoroughfares. Greening the metropolis serves not only for aesthetic purposes but more so it can contribute in minimizing air pollution, for trees act as a sponge by sequestering carbon in the atmosphere while releasing breathable oxygen.
The operationalization of the Air Quality Management Fund (AQMF) ensures the continued funding for the Clean Air Act. The AQMF is being utilized for activities that will improve the quality of air throughout the country.
Download Calendar of Activities (120Kb, Doc)