Fog or ash? Whatever, it’s bad for the health

If you've noticed the foggy-like haze seen around Metro Manila on Friday, it was not fog or ash from Taal Volcano, a meteorologist said. 

“It has nothing to do with Taal [Volcano]. It’s not fog either,” said UP Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology professor Gerry Bagtasa in a text message to ABS-CBN News.

“Air is currently stagnant because of opposing winds over Metro Manila. High humidity or light rain gives it the appearance of fog.” 

The air-quality monitoring site Airtoday recorded “poor” air quality on Friday afternoon, with the level or air pollutants reaching 63 to 65 micrograms per cubic meter by 1 p.m. The World Health Organization standard for exposure to air pollution is at a maximum of 25 micrograms per cubic meter.

Air Intellipure also posted in its Facebook page that it measured 14.6 million particles per cubic foot in Makati. 

“Air particle levels are the highest we have ever seen,” it said.

Bagtasa said with the high level of pollutants in the air, people should “refrain from outdoor activities and stay indoors” because it was bad for their health.

He said this had happened before because of the weather.

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology’s Mariton Bornas, who heads the agency’s Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division, said in a comment to reporters that it was also hard to tell if it was linked to volcanic ash.

Bornas also told ABS-CBN News that meteorologists were getting more information. 

In a Twitter thread, Bagtasa said pollutants were unable to disperse due to the prevailing winds and the temperature.

“Is that fog? NO, high humidity [there’s drizzle] results in particulates being coated with water, which further reduces visibility. This gives the appearance of fog,” Bornas said.

Topics: Taal Volcano , fog , ash , UP Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology , Gerry Bagtasa
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