Baguio Latest News

Impact of air pollution in human health, environment

Air pollution is a concern which poses threat to human health and likewise greatly impacts the ecosystem and the environment.


An expert on air quality and pollution, Environment and Management Bureau Consultant Engr. Reynaldo Tejada shares his knowledge on the impact of air quality and pollution in human health, the ecosystem and the environment in a presentation held here recently on air modeling in the Baguio-La Trinidad- Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay areas.

Even with the passage of the Clean Air Act which puts in place air pollution control and policy, Tejada said there are reasons why one should be concerned in air pollution as it poses significant threat to the human health and atmosphere.

Its effect in the human body leads to various health-related diseases such as respiratory disease, decreased lung functions, cancers, eye and throat irritation, he adds. At high risk are children and elderly and those individuals with asthma and cardiopulmonary diseases.

As to the impact on the ecosystem and the environment, it affects vegetation leading to reduction of agricultural yields. There is reduced production due to emission of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur oxide (SO2), said Tejada. Both elements create acid rain which reduces agricultural yield.

Chemical pollutants such as industrial and agricultural chemicals likewise contribute to climate change.

Sources of air pollution are anthropogenic and natural sources. Anthropogenic or man-made sources such as those which are stationary like chimneys, mobile sources like vehicle emissions and area sources emanating from forest fires, kaingin or burn and slash, and cigarette smoke. Examples of natural sources are those emitted by volcanoes.

Impact of air pollution is categorized into local, regional and global scale. If local, there is a need to measure criteria of pollutant as established by the government to determine exposure level everyday to a certain limit and certain pollutant within a particular timeframe, said Tejada.

Locally, particulate matters (PM) are produced from combustions of motor vehicles, furnaces, chimneys, including construction activities. These particulates are inhaled categorized into total suspended particulate (TSP) an example of which is the booger that accumulates in the nostrils, PM 2.5 which are particles measuring less than 2.5 µm (micrometres) while PM 10 are particulate matters 10 micrometers or less in diameter.

These particulate matters which affect the body may pass through the nasopharynx, tracheobronchial until the pulmonary system, depending on the type of pollutant an individual inhales. The PM2.5, generally described as fine particles, is dangerous which cannot be eliminated but sticks in the lungs and accumulates, said Tejada.

He cited a study comparing lungs of two persons who died in Manila and from the province. The one from Manila has color black lungs while from the province color red which is an indication of heavy pollution in Manila compared to the province.

Tejada cited a case of a PM10 particulate if released in the air at the height of one meter without air movement will take more than four months before it reaches the ground.  It means, without air movement, it is suspended in the air and a lot of it is inhaled. But if there is air movement, a little of the particulates are inhaled, he explained.

Another realization he shared is that, there are more PM10 and PM2.5 inhaled indoors due to static air movement while more TSP than PM10 or PM2.5 inhaled outdoors due to presence of air movement which dissipates the particulates.

His advice is: when purchasing or building a house, proper ventilation should be one of the factors for consideration. Installation of exhaust fans is also one way of depleting particulates inside homes, he added.

For big industries, they are required to have a workplace environment monitoring (WEM) to determine concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 based on the Department of Labor and Employment standards.

The regional impact otherwise known as transboundary air pollutants are those which travel afar such as forest fires, for instance, the one that occurred in Indonesia in 2005. The haze went as far as Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

The global effect of air pollution is global warming, greenhouse gases effect and ozone depletion, he further adds.

The principle of garbage in garbage out applies to air pollution, said Tejada. “If  you pollute the air, the air will pollute you”, he lamented. Susan C. Aro (ALT/SCA-PIA-CAR, Benguet)


Baguio Tourist Attractions

Marker of the Philippine Commission's First Session in Baguio

This is the site of the building where the members of the Philippine Commission met from April 22 to June 11, 1904 and officially initiated the use of Baguio as the Philippine Summer Capital. The Commission was composed of Governor General Luke Wright, president, and Commissioners Henry Ide, Dean C. Worcester, T Padre Tavera, Benito Legarda, Jose de Luzuriaga, James Smith and Cameron Forbes.

Kennon Road and its Builder

Tourist-Spots-in-BaguioNamed after Col. Lyman W. Kennon, who was the final builder of the famous Benguet road, with the help of the industrious Cordillerans and foreign workers. Kennon road is the shortest and the most scenic highway linking Baguio and the lowlands. The lion's head can be found along the way. Final construction of this road was finished in 1903. Col. L. Kennon first ascended to Baguio in 1905. Of the original workers, the Igorots and Japanese were admired for their trustworthiness and willingness to work. Kennon was closed to traffic after the July 16, 1990 earthquake. It is now open to light vehicles only.

Diplomat Hotel on Dominican Hill

diplomatIn May 1911, the councils of the Province of the Dominican Order voted to construct a vacation house in Baguio on a 17-hectare property they had acquired when the American authorities were encouraging people to come here. Actual work started in 1913 under Fr. Roque Ruano and the building was inaugurated on May 23, 1925. To take advantage of the tax exemptions a school called Collegio del Santissimo Rosario was opened in June 1915 but due to the very small enrollment the school closed in 1917, reverting the building to the original vacation house. During WWII refugees first occupied it. Later the Japanese Army Liberation Forces had to bomb out the refugees from the buildings. The five hits left very extensive damage and for a time it was left unrepaired. Reconstruction was started in 1947 and completed in 1948 with most of its pre-war grandeur and beauty restored. In 1973, Diplomat Hotels, Inc. acquired ownership, remodeled the interior into a 33-bedroom hotel with modern facilities, but retained the unique and distinct personality of the Dominican Hill. In the 80's the hotel ceased operations due to the death of one of its majority stockholders. Plans are underway to develop this historical religious landmark into a tourist resort.

Philippine Military Academy

PMAThe Philippine Commission promulgated Act No. 175, which became the basis for the creation of the Philippine Constabulary in August 8, 1905. The school for the officers of the constabulary was first located in Sta. Lucia Barracks in Manila. Later in 1908, it was relocated in Baguio on the site known as Constabulary Hill later renamed Camp Henry T. Allen, in honor of the first chief of the Philippine Constabulary. With the passage of the Jones Law, the school was later changed to "Academy for Officers of the Philippine Constabulary" with a two-year curriculum. In 1908, the course was raised to collegiate level and later lengthened to three years with class 1938 as having the last graduates of that course. When the commonwealth government was established in 1935, the Philippine Military Academy was created in place of the Philippine Constabulary Academy. Under the National Defense Act, the PMA was authorized to maintain cadet strength of 350. Because of increased population, the academy transferred to Teachers Camp in June 1936 where it remained until WWII broke out. After the war the PMA headquarters was temporarily relocated at Camp Murphy and later at Alabang, while Camp Allen was being rehabilitated. Since May 1950 the Philippine Military Academy has found its permanent home at Fort del Pilar, Loakan, Baguio City.

The Mansion

The-Mansion-Baguio-CityThis imposing and majestic mansion has a long list of Filipino Presidents and American governor-generals. It has elegantly structured building and guesthouse. Its gate is patterned after that of London's Buckingham Palace. The Mansion has also been the site of several international conferences and a working office of the President of the Philippines during his visits to the City.

Camp John Hay

camp-john-hay-amphitheaterThis former American recreational facility is currently undergoing development as a world class resort. As of March 27, 1999, the golf course was completed and is now open, The skating rink, picnic area, and the mini golf course at the Scout Hill area are likewise open.

Asin Hot Spring

Located 16 kilometers northwest of Baguio, the resort's main feature is a swimming pool surrounded by thermal springs, lush vegetation and several hanging bridges. It is an ideal respite. This is now eyed to be redeveloped into a tourism resort along with the adjoining tourist attractions of Tuba and Baguio.

Bell Church

The-Bell-Church-of-Baguio-CityThis cluster of temples is located on the border of Baguio City and Trinidad Valley. Its exotic oriental architecture, pagodas roof, ornate gateway, dragon ornaments and Buddha - guarded windows gaze from atop a hill. The Bell Temple priest practices a mixture of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Christianity. One may even try having his fortune told.

Burnham Park

Burnham-Park-BaguioIt is the oldest of all Baguio parks. One can unwind from the tension of the day-to-day bustle by biking, skating or simply reflecting on the day's experiences amid a soothing garden backdrop of colorful flowers. It is thickly wooded and is a great place to have picnics and concerts. There are tennis and basketball courts, a football field, athletic oval and an orchidarium.

Mines View Park

Mines-View-Park-Baguio-CityAppropriately named for its breathtaking view of Benguet's mountain ranges where gold, silver and other ores were once quarried. There are souvenir shops around the park offering such items as woodcarvings, woven cloth, ashtrays, shell products and other curio items.

Wright Park

It is sometimes mistakenly called "Ride Park" by some that identify this pine tree park reserve for kiddy horse rides. A long stairway leads to the "Pool of the Pines", a 100 meter long pool of water lined on both sides by the famous Baguio towering pine.