"We have a cool climate, we are blessed kaya slow lang ang pagtaas (that's why we have a slow increase) of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other pollutants, " EMB -CAR regional Director Maria Victoria Abrera said during a press conference in celebration of the 32nd anniversary of the environment department.
Pointing at a LED screen placed in the front of the EMB regional office building, Abrera said the particulate matter reading at Burnham Park on June 11 shows a 20 microgram per cubic meter (ug/m3), which is within the category “good”.
"There, that is daily, if you look at it, its green, meaning it is good," she said.
Abrera said based on the latest monitoring, the city does not exceed the standards that qualify to be alarming.
Statistics provided by EMB show that in the first quarter of 2019, the average reading was 37 (ug/m3), fluctuating from a minimum of 8 (ug/m3) to 75 (ug/m3) with the month of February recording the highest at 75.
During the same quarter in 2018, the minimum recorded particulate matter was 5 (ug/m3) and a maximum of 136 with the highest recorded in February, when Baguio received the height tourism influx for the Panagbenga Flower Festival.
Abrera said humans and human activity contribute largely to air quality.
The top sources of air pollutants include motor vehicles, stationary sources like factories and kitchen and activities on open spaces like road construction where dust is emitted.
Abrera said based on the latest tree inventory of the Department of Environment of Natural Resources, the existing trees are not enough to capture air pollutants, prompting the need to encourage the public to plant trees.
In February, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu ordered the local office of the DENR to conduct an inventory of the trees in Baguio.
DENR-Cordillera regional director Ralph Pablo said out of 2.5 million trees, 492,974 are Benguet pine trees while 2,005,045 are other pine species such as red bottle brush, calliandra, alnus, eucalyptus and tibeg.
Among the Benguet pine trees, 351,493 are matured while 141,481 are regenerated.
“The number was derived from the number of trees per hectare multiplied to the land area of closed forests, open forests and residential and or built-up areas. A sampling method was utilized by the DENR-CAR surveys and mapping division. Randomly selected sampling sites were in Outlook Drive, Pucsusan, Phil-am compound, Camp 8 and Irisan,” Pablo said.
Currently, Pablo said there is a pending bill before the House of Representatives which requires all graduating elementary, high school and college students to plant at least 10 trees each as a prerequisite for graduation. (With a report from Argielynne Gem Ramos, OJT/ PNA)
By Liza Agoot