EMB, City ‘clears the air’

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

TROUBLED over reports tagging the air quality of the Summer Capital as "the worst" in the country, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environment Management Bureau held a meeting Wednesday to address this concern.

Domogan asked EMB to shed light on the World Health Organization’s Clean Air Initiative data which was based on an EMB report in 2010.

Cordillera EMB officer-in-charge Oscar Cabanayan admitted the city’s air quality in 2010 worsened but stressed their report only applied to the Central Business District, particularly Km. 0 where the air quality monitoring station of the DENR is installed.


“The sampling station in the city is located here because it is where the heaviest foot traffic and vehicular traffic occur,” explained Cabanayan.

While Mayor Domogan accepted the explanation, he stressed there must be a consolidated report on air quality in others locations in the city to emphasize there are areas in Baguio where the air quality is good.

“We have to seriously address this one because this is not a joke,” he said.

Domogan then called the attention and cooperation of the transport sector and also private vehicle owners after City Environment and Parks Management officer Cordelia Lacsamana revealed vehicles pose the greatest problem of pollution in the city.

Yesterday, the mayor said the WHO failed to validate the EMB report and generalized the isolated results in Km. 0.

“If we are indeed the most polluted city in the Philippines, we will accept it. But it is unfair to tag the city as such when clearly they failed to take all the factors in their study,” he stressed during his weekly Ugnayan with media.

This as he stressed a DENR report showed air quality in Baguio remains within acceptable standards.

The mayor also stressed programs of the city government to address the air quality in the city including the continued vigilance versus smoke belchers and tree planting activities.

The WHO global report on air quality came out May 7, covering 1,600 cities across 91 countries.

Meanwhile, Engr. Edith Mejia, Environment officer of John Hay Management Corporation also questioned the findings of WHO in a presscon yesterday by the government corporation.

“WHO must tell us the conditions, parameters and standards by which this study was conducted,” Mejia said.

Mejia yesterday revealed to media the “good” air quality within Camp John Hay and consistently way below the National Ambient Air Quality Standards in particulate matter. (Giovani Joy Fontanilla)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 15, 2014.

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