Outdoor air pollution is ubiquitous and is now recognized to pose significant danger to public health. In an exposure study conducted by the Health Effects Institute (HEI), subjects living within 300-500 meters from a major thoroughfare are exposed to traffic emissions. A landmark Global Burden of Disease study recently published in The Lancet documented that over 3.2 million people died prematurely from outdoor air pollution in 2010, with more 2/3 of those occur in developing countries in Asia. Recently, WHO classified outdoor air pollution to be the leading cause of cancer deaths world wide, and classify the outdoor particles in general as cancerous. (IARC Scientific Publication No. 161). Given its devastating toll, air pollution and health-related issue is still not promoted in the decision maker’s agenda, especially in the Philippines.
Inhalable particles are of the size lower than PM10 and PM2.5. No reports on PM2.5 have been made to date. Roadside levels would be expected to be higher although no data is available to date.
With the NCR’s population increasing annually at 1.78%, it is hypothesized that a considerable number of people may be exposed to air pollution due to the sheer number of vehicles that pass through major thoroughfares, however, vehicular volume and the corresponding impact to air pollution has not been investigated. Moreover, there is a need for government to sound the alarm when air quality is beyond the safe limits set by WHO.
Knowing the need for real-time and reliable information on the levels of air pollution, interventions and initiatives from private sector can come in to support the interest of the general public. The information on the levels of inhalable outdoor air pollution, in the form of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), population exposure, as well as precautionary measures must be available in order to catalyze the government to action and support succeeding regulatory measures. For this purposes, the Rotary Club of Makati initiated the project entitled, ‘Air Quality Monitoring & Reporting System’ and procure two-units of Air Quality Monitoring System (AQMS) PM10 and PM2.5 and report the information real-time, in an easily understandable manner to the public. The AQMS is the Club’s milestone project on its 50th charter anniversary year, 2015-2016 that will be up and operating on March 12, 2016.
· To build public awareness of the condition of the air over Metro Manila and advise residents on what they can do to safeguard their health and that of their families
· To catalyze to action the relevant government agencies to take immediate steps to implement the provisions of the Clean Air Act
· To solicit the help of private corporations, NGOs, and environment advocates and encourage them to use their financial and manpower resources to combat the scourge of air pollution