DAVAO CITY: A national environment group has declared Davao City as a “Clean Air City” and Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio as a Clean Air Champion for keeping the airshed clean and safe to breathe despite the city’s fast progress.
“Usually with progress and urbanization come air pollution,” said Michael Aragon, chair of Clean Air Philippines Movement Inc. (CAPMI), during the ceremonial kick-off of the Clean Air Month and National Environment Month at the NCCC Mall on Monday.
Aragon said CAPMI has conducted a nationwide survey on Ambient Air Quality of urban centers and found out Davao City as clean.
CAPMI also cited Duterte-Carpio for initiating and implementing crucial and sustainable programs pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. 8749 or the Clean Air Act of 1999.
“Davao City enjoys clean and safe air to breathe because its mayor champions the environment,” Aragon said, emphasizing that it takes political will to fight air pollution.
With this recognition, Aragon urged Duterte-Carpio to join CAPMI in moving around the country to advocate for clean air for the people. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Davao Region Director Ruth Tawantawan also lauded the city government for sustaining the standards set for clean air.
Tawantawan said Davao City is blessed because the air quality is still within the quality index level.
Within WHO standards
The suspended particulate matter (pm) or microgram per normal cubic meter (ncm) in the city is within international standards set by the World Health Organization.
Particulate matter is defined as any type of solid particles in the air in the form of smoke, dust and vapors. It is produced by many sources, including burning of diesel fuels by vehicles, fossil fuels, mixing and application of fertilizers and pesticides, road construction, industrial processes and operation of woodstoves. Some microscopic particles in the air can be breathed into the lungs causing increased respiratory disease and lung damage.
In the Philippines, Tawantawan said the air quality index is measured at pm10. If measured by microgram per normal cubic meter (ncm), the air quality of Davao City is 80 that is still below 150 set by the government.
Tawantawan highlighted Duterte-Carpio’s bold decisons to keep the city’s environment good such as the cancellation of the multi-million reclamation project along Davao’s coastal area and the continued strict implementation of city ordinances like the Anti-Smoking.
In response, Duterte–Carpio likened air pollution as an irreversible disease.
She is happy that Davao City maintained good air quality index. But she said the city government and the people should not be complacent.
The index could still increase or be reduced. People, she said, are also accountable to make the airshed clean remain committed to keep the city below the set standard.
Duterte-Carpio cited the continued implementation of Anti-Smoke Belching Law, which was passed years ago.
From January 2017, the mayor said the City Environment and Natural Resources Office conducted emission tests to 3,215 vehicles. The mayor said this is done in line with the city’s aim to improve air quality.