Press Release
September 22, 2010

Loren Stresses Need to Address Metro Manila's Worsening Air Quality

Sen. Loren Legarda expressed concern over reports on the worsening conditions of air quality in Metro Manila, thus calling for the government's renewed and strong commitment to addressing the roots of air pollution in the metropolis.

According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), pollution in the Metropolis went further downhill during the first half of this year, with 163 micrograms (ug)/normal cubic meters (Ncm) of solid or liquid particles in the air. The normal standard is at 90 ug/Ncm.

"Poor air quality does not just concern the environment but the welfare of the Filipino people. Increased levels of these pollutants in the air can cause respiratory ailments," says Loren. The DENR further noted that 80% of the pollution in the country is caused by vehicles, especially public utility vehicles like buses, jeepneys, and tricycles.

"Certainly, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Metro Manila Development Authority are doing their duties in improving the quality of air and catching the culprits of the road. However, I would like to stress that every problem has its roots, and the key to spoil the growth of this problem is by cutting its roots," said the Senator.

Loren, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, filed Resolution No. 138 which calls for an inquiry on the alleged selective emission testing of vehicles in the country.

Reports have sprouted that the Land Transportation Office, under the Department of Transportation and Communication, has been remiss in its duties in conducting emission testing of buses as there are allegations that buses are not physically subjected to the tests but merely pay a certain amount in exchange for the issuance of the vehicle registration.

"This is what we should look into first. If we had not let the perpetrators on the road, I don't think air quality in Metro Manila would have gone this worse. There is a desperate need for concerned agencies to work into this issue and quickly," stressed Sen. Legarda.

"We must ask the government why it has failed to effectively implement the Clean Air Act of 1999. If fully implemented, this law would have improved the air quality of the country during the last eleven years. Compliance with the tightened standards on industrial emissions and motor vehicle exhaust must be monitored and assessed.

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