LEGAZPI CITY (24 Dec. 2011) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office in Bicol has appealed to local government units (LGUs) in the region to designate their respective common fireworks area (CFA) to keep air pollution at bay this Christmas season.
The appeal was made even as the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) reported that this city and the cities of Naga and Iriga in Camarines Sur were within fair to good in terms of air quality index last year.
The level of air pollution in these key cities of Bicol registered in 2010 an average of 102, 48 and 52 microgram per Normal cubic meter (ug/Ncm) respectively. It is a level way below the observed level in Metro Manila at 166 ug/Ncm considering that threshold level is at 230ug/Ncm to be considered “unhealthy for sensitive groups”.
However, firecrackers contain sulfur, charcoal and other materials that form greenhouse gases when these react with oxidants in the air. Dust from fireworks and firecrackers can affect the lungs and pose a real danger to people who suffer from illnesses of the respiratory system such as asthma, bronchitis, laryngitis, pneumonia, rhinitis and sinusitis.
“The amount of dust in the air expressed as Total Suspended Particulates that is detrimental to health is expected to increase this month and early January owing to widespread use of firecrackers,” according to DENR regional executive director Joselin Marcus Fragada on Friday.
DENR Secretaryt Ramon Paje, Fragada said, had already communicated with Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo seeking assistance for LGUs to designate CFAs that will allow their constituents to celebrate without the pollution that usually comes with it.
The DENR secretary, Fragada said believes “momentum will be lost” so the public must cooperate in the government’s effort to minimize air pollution level by minimizing, if not totally avoiding, the use of firecrackers this holiday season.
CFAs, whether within a municipality or among a cluster of barangays would drastically reduce the amount of air pollution from pyrotechnics such as dust, sulfur and charcoal which can complicate respiratory problems, Fragada said.
“The advantages of having CFAs far outweigh the potential risks to our people and clean air should never be compromised at all season and in all occasion,” he stressed. (PNA)