THOUGH the cold weather is a welcome respite for lowlanders like city dwellers in Metro Manila, the current cold spells have heavy toll on the fishing industry in Bataan and the environment in Baguio.
Fish vendor Imelda Sebastian of the Orani public market said fish commonly caught in the sea are hardly there but so far the inadequate supply has not yet impacted the prices of species like hasa-hasa, asohos, bisugo, kitang, lapu-lapu because of the low temperatures.
What is being sold now are inland species like bangus and tilapia, the supply of which are stable at the moment.
As for big crabs, they can hardly move in the cold water with some of them collapsing and scraping the walls of fishponds and rivers, said Anthony Herrera, a wholesaler and fishpond owner. The same is true with prawns, which die at 1.5 months.
Prices of prawns, shrimps, crabs and bangus have so far not increased yet at the retail markets, Herrera added.
Efren Magbanua, a fishpond caretaker, shared Herrera’s observation as he stated that bangus, crabs and shrimps can hardly move or breed at this time because of the cold water from the persistent cold weather.
Magbanua said he just harvested bangus at six months old. A kilo would comprise of 10 pieces, when during normal weather, a kilo would only be six with an average weight of 500 grams apiece.
Hector Sy said the cold weather has also its big effect on prawns. He supplies most of the prawn fry needs in Bataan.
A prawn hatchery owner in Batangas City said prawn fries can hardly grow and change their shells, their growth is stunted and making them grow bigger under this kind of weather entails bigger investments.
In Baguio meantime, the Environmental Management Bureau—Cordillera said that the air quality in the city and other areas could worsen because of the colder weather.
EMB-CAR Planning Division OIC-Chief Wilhelmina Lagunilla said the city’s cold weather could cause the pollutants to stay in the air longer than during the warmer or normal weather.
She said recent studies and air quality monitoring by the agency showed that air pollution is being experienced more during the cold weather.
She said the pollutants such as vehicle emission and other sources are suspended in the air longer due to the colder weather that may create more pollution in the city of Baguio and other areas affected by the cold climate.
Lagunilla said colder weather will make the total particulate matter from the source of pollutants dissipate in the air slower than the usual and these particulate may be breathe in by people.
The traffic congestion at the Central Business District is seen as one of the sources of pollutants particularly during the weekends when the traffic number coding is lifted and all sorts of vehicles ply the city’s main thoroughfares.
Lagunilla commended the project of the city to maintain plants and other vegetation as it is a good intervention in lessening the air pollution in the central business district since the plants can take in some pollutants such as carbon monoxide from the vehicle emissions.
Since the start of the year, the temperature in the city has been dropping making more people want to come and experience the cold weather in the Summer Capital. A cold 9.6 degrees Celsius was the lowest recorded temperature here recently.