So it rained on your New Year parade.
It did not stop the revelry; it only muted the explosive celebration.
The good thing is, there were fewer firecracker injuries, and the air was spared the thick and toxic fumes blamed for the seasonal spike in pulmonary and related conditions among the vulnerable segments of the population.
The reality is, the New Year comes barging in with or without the noisy, messy celebrations.
But what gladdens us the most is that the environment ends up the biggest winner.
That was last year. Too bad the rain fell in some parts of the country but not in Metro Manila.
Fair weather is the main reason for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to conclude that the air pollution level during the transition to year 2017 surpasses the 2016 record.
DENR Undersecretary Art Valdez said rains that occurred in the coming of 2016 made the air easy to clean.
“So that would explain the comparison ng 2016 midnight medyo umuulan doon and then itong 2017 walang ulan. That would explain relatively na medyo mataas ngayon ang air pollution for Metro Manila,” Usec. Valdez said.
(So that would explain the comparison of 2016 midnight, it rains slightly then and there’s no rain this 2017. That would explain relatively that the air pollution in Metro Manila is slightly higher.)
DENR measures the particulate matter 2.5 or pm 2.5 which easily penetrates the lungs.
At 12 midnight of January 1, DENR recorded the highest pollution level over Taft Avenue in Manila that reached to 448 micrograms per normal cubic meter. Followed by Parañaque with 433; Taguig with 324; Valenzuela with 285; and Muntinlupa with 175 micrograms per normal cubic meter.
At 2 a.m. on the same day, the air quality monitoring station located 369 micrograms per normal cubic meter over Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City and 397 micrograms per normal cubic meter in Pasig.
DENR said the highest level of air pollution lasted for about 5 hours but it could cause damage to the public’s health in the affected area.
“It will trigger your asthma. But for a normal like us, maybe sneezing, nangangati ang ilong lang. But then, for asthmatic, may sakit sa puso, mas ano ‘yung effect,” said Engr. Jean Rosete, DENR-Air Quality Management chief.
(It will trigger your asthma. But for a normal like us, maybe sneezing, itchy nose only. But it has more effect for asthmatic and those with heart disease.)
Record from the World Health Organization shows that there are about 7 million deaths in 2012 due to air pollution.
The department is supporting the banning of firecrackers and fireworks.