BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-CAR) revealed the air quality in the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) area remains good to fair during the third quarter of this year amidst the increasing volume of vehicles and rapid urbanization in the said places.
In a report submitted to Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, EMB-CAR OIC Chief for Clearance and Permitting Division Engr. Nestor M. Donaal said there were 10 particulate matter (PM) monitoring stations that were monitored during the third quarter using the manual sampling method at the established stations within BLISTT airshed.
He pointed out all results obtained from the BLISTT sampling stations were within the national ambient air quality guidelines value which is 150 micrograms per cubic meter for suspended particulate matter.
Results from 8 sampling stations were within the good air quality index range which is from 0-54 micrograms per cubic meter while results from 2 the sampling stations at Lower Session Road Plaza Garden in Baguio City and Km. 6 in La Trinidad, Benguet were within the fair air quality index range which is from 55-154micrograms per cubic meter.
The EMB-CAR official underscored weather conditions during the reckoning period were generally rainy or there was intermittent rain shower, fair and cloudy during the 24-hour sampling periods in the said areas.
Donaal claimed 9 sampling stations showed a decrease of suspended PM levels as compared to the last results obtained from similar stations during the second quarter of this year.
On the other hand, he noted that the sampling station at the ground of the Itogon, Benguet municipal hall showed a 79 percent increase in suspended PM level as compared with the obtained results from the second quarter of this year. However, the results are still within the national ambient air quality value of 150 micrograms per cubic meter suspended PM levels which are described as good level as compared to the second quarter of this year which is 23 micrograms per cubic meter within the good range.
Donaal pointed out construction activities were noted as significant sources of particulates on the established sampling stations which were previously put in place to monitor the air quality in the BLISTT airshed pursuant to the provisions of the Philippine Clean Air Act.
The report noted on-going excavation activities within the Itogon municipal hall compound contributed to the air quality conditions during the time of sampling but fair weather conditions, especially intermittent rains helped wash down suspended particulates in the atmosphere, thus, effective control measures to lessen dust suspension should be always be implemented by the construction firms.
Donaal claimed the continuous ambient air quality monitoring station installed along Plaza Garden in Lower Session Road could not be repaired since its spare parts are outdated and hard to find. It was recommended to be removed and replaced, and the restoration of the PM station installed at Burnham Lake is highly recommended.
By Dexter A. See