With Metro Manila under enhanced community quarantine to fight the spread of coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) disease, its air quality has significantly improved in recent days, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The Air Quality Information System of the DENR-Environment Management Bureau showed a significant drop in the concentration of particulate matter (PM) in the metro’s air quality based on the results gathered from air monitoring stations in the cities of Las Pinas, Marikina, Muntinlupa and Parañaque.
Last March 22, the 24-hour average level for PM10 in Las Piñas and Marikina went down to 31.67 and 27.21 micrograms per normal cubic meter (ug/Ncm) from a high 57.81 and 31.28 ug/Ncm, respectively, on March 9.
The acceptable threshold standard level of PM 10 is 60 ug/Ncm.
Based on DENR Administrative Order 2013-13, the acceptable limit for PM 2.5 is 50 ug/Ncm for the short term 24-hour average level, and 35 µg/Ncm for the long term one year average level.
In Muntinlupa and Paranaque, PM 2.5 levels on March 22, 2020 were recorded at 10.78 and 14.29 ug/Ncm, respectively - much lower when they were recorded at 28.75 and 27.23 ug/Ncm, respectively, on March 10.
“We can see the drastic drop in numbers of PM 2.5 in Muntinlupa and Paranaque, and the drop in numbers of PM 10 in Las Pinas and Marikina. This explains why our sky now is clear and looks clean,” Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said in a statement.
“The sudden stop of activities in many countries allows the earth to heal from environmental degradation. The major cause of climate change- air pollution, due mainly by mass transport energy emissions, is being abated. In the same way, there is lesser trash in public places because people are in strict home quarantine and restaurants are closed,” Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore on a global scale the realization that a country’s economic and socio-political pillars are underpinned by healthy environment,” Antiporda said.