HomeNewsGreenpeace calls for air quality monitoring ‘to protect citizens’ health’

Greenpeace calls for air quality monitoring ‘to protect citizens’ health’

Almost all Filipinos are breathing air that doesn’t meet World Health Organization guidelines

Greenpeace called on the Philippine government to shore up the country’s monitoring systems for air quality.

In a report released last week, the pro-environment group revealed inadequacies in data on air pollution and its dangers to the Filipino people.

The report titled “Different Air under One Sky: Inequity Air Research,” shows that disparity in access to air quality data is putting vulnerable populations at greater risk from air pollution.

In the Philippines, only 45 percent of people live within 25 kilometers of an air quality monitoring station, most of which are located in Metro Manila.

Access to data is also difficult, as only a few stations provide public access to data, which is not updated regularly, said the report.

Data also show that almost all Filipinos are breathing air that doesn’t meet World Health Organization guidelines, with as much as 25 percent of the total population exposed to annual average PM2.5 concentrations that are at least five times over the WHO guidelines,

“Based on the latest WHO air quality guidelines, all Filipinos are breathing in unhealthy air,” said Greenpeace campaigner Khevin Yu.

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He said air pollution monitoring should work to protect people from highly polluting industries and practices.

“But our studies have shown that monitoring stations are too few and insufficient to make an impact,” said Yu.

Smog over Manila cityscape. (Shutterstock file photo)

Lawyer Aaron Pedrosa of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice said air standards in the country “are outmoded and have fallen far behind latest science.”

He also said that the government continues on an “approving spree” to more projects that would further deteriorate air quality.

“Despite the clear mandate for the government to protect and promote the people’s right to clean air … it has reneged on that mandate by allowing polluting corporations like coal plants to operate with impunity, unchecked,” said Pedrosa.

Greenpeace urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to expand its air quality monitoring capacity — not just by increasing the number of stations but by enabling the stations to monitor other dangerous pollutants.

“Improving air quality is not only a matter of ensuring health and justice, but also of addressing the climate crisis and eliminating the common denominator – our country’s dependence on dirty energy,” Yu said in a statement.

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