Do you know that face masks are trending from sidewalk stalls? Yeah, but there’s a reason for that. But here’s a different query for you: do you want to live in a nation where the whole population wear face masks?
This derives us in one of the growing issues in our country: air pollution.
Think about it. For the regular commuter, one has to endure waiting by the sidewalk and to prevent smoke emissions from vehicles to enter inside the respiratory system. But emissions are hard to get out from since they are everywhere, from aforementioned vehicles to factories to grills to fires. Now, you must be thinking why only emissions from manmade mechanisms should be blamed for this when natural sources (i.e. soil, microorganisms, fungi, pollen) also release aerosols that contribute to air pollution. It is not the sources to blame. It is the overuse-transforming abuse that becomes a heavy contributor to air pollution.
Daily, this already becomes am endurance test. I have to dodge smoke belches coming out of public vehicles. I have to prevent smoke from burning grass, scorching trash and grills from eateries. I have to move away from people smoking cigarettes since I tend to get shaky from nicotine-emitted smoke. And I have to struggle passing through highways, with the mixed heat and smoke sticking to my body. This is not just a personal story. This happens to every daily commuter. And there is no assurance of the prevention of the growth of air pollution.
Last year on its first quarter, DENR’s respective department Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) calculated that the air pollutant concentration has reached to 130 micrograms per normal cubic meter, away from the maximum safe level of 90 µg/Ncm. In fact, back in the March update of the numbeo.org environmental grade for Manila, 61 contributors graded air pollution with 86.25 (placing in the “very high” category), despite a moderate level categorized by the World Health Organization. If that is not enough, in the latest data (based on April 15, 2016) from the Air Quality Index site, Manila carries a 114 grade, regarding it as “unhealthy for sensitive groups”; with the highest in Metro Manila being Navotas with a 134 grade.
This shows how increasingly serious air pollution. While this is hard to lessen, since the economy demands for high production and logistics (thus, more fuel, more smoke), the best way we can do as citizens is to make ways to prevent it and not to contribute to its worsening. As for the government, this should be one of the priorities of the next administration. As our economy grows, so does the supply and demand of our raw materials. Let’s hope that we yearn for the day we can breathe easily without using a handkerchief or a face mask.