Malacañang on Sunday said that concerned government agencies are monitoring the haze from Indonesia that has reached some areas in southern Philippines.
According to Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Science and Technology (DOST); Department of Health (DOH); Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and various local disaster risk reduction management councils are looking into long-term effects of the haze.
Coloma, citing reports from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), said the thick haze that was observed in some areas in Mindanao was brought by equatorial winds enhanced by Typhoon Lando that hit the country last week.
He said the DENR is looking into the air situation in Davao, Cotabato, Zamboanga and other monitoring stations in Mindanao.
“The DENR is continuously monitoring the air quality using the standard particulate matter of 2.5 microns in the atmosphere,” Coloma said in a radio interview aired over dzRB.
Particulate matter in the air is the microscopic solid or liquid matter suspended in the earth’s atmosphere.
Based on the monitoring of the DENR, there are only few instances wherein particulate matter exceeded the standard level of particulate matter in the monitoring stations.
Coloma said the Health department is “cautioning people suffering from lung illnesses or respiratory diseases to take precautionary measures like using face masks.”
Health authorities warned that haze is known to contain hazardous chemicals and compounds, like sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.
Although haze is not that as hazardous as to raise a medical alarm, the DOH advised residents in affected areas to wear face masks, as it could trigger asthma attack, or cardio-pulmonary obstructive disease.
“The government is prepared to provide medical services to individuals, particularly those who are suffering from asthma and cardio-pulmonary obstructive diseases,” Coloma said.