I have directed the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) to reactivate its anti-smoke belching units in an effort to lower the air pollution level in Metro Manila within the healthful standards of the World Health Organization (WHO).
I likewise urge the Land Transportation Office and the Department of Trade and Industry to tighten their control on private emission testing centers to put a stop to what is called a ‘no show certification’ in order to minimize the volume of smoke belching vehicles being registered.
Let’s put a stop to the nefarious activity of issuing certificates of emission compliance without actual testing of vehicles. This is where corruption starts because vehicles that have not met the emission standards are eventually registered using the emission certificate as basis. It makes no sense at all how a lot of public utility vehicles (trucks, buses, tricycles) and trucks are able to secure certificates of emission compliance when it is common knowledge that most of these vehicles are the main source of toxic emissions while plying Metro Manila’s roads.
Private testing centers should comply with regulations, or they will be made accountable under the Philippine Clean Air Act (Republic Act No. 8749).
I also ordered the heightened coordination among the LTO, Land Transportation Franchise Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and local government units in Metro Manila to get involved in the anti-smoke belching campaign.
The DENR-ASBU’s reactivation will see action starting on August 1 along the stretch of the Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) with four apprehending teams and along the 12.4 kilometer Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.
I am also calling on local government officials in Metro Manila’s 17 cities to intensify their offensive against smoke-belching vehicles in an effort to bring air pollution levels in Metro Manila within the WHO standard by 2010.
2008 records from the Environmental Management Bureau’s ambient air monitoring stations are as follows:
MRT Pasay- Total Suspended Particles: 272 micrograms per normal cubic meter
Makati- Total Suspended Particles: 310 micrograms per normal cubic meter
East Avenue- Total Suspended Particles: 370 micrograms per normal cubic meter
Valenzuela- Total Suspended Particles: 418 micrograms per normal cubic meter
Marikina- Total Suspended Particles: 240 micrograms per normal cubic meter
WHO set the ambient air quality guideline value for Total Suspended Particulate (TSP) at 90 micrograms per normal cubic meter (ug/Ncm ).
The fight against smoke belching vehicles in Metro Manila will set the tone of the overall campaign of the effort stressing that winning the air battle in Metro Manila means that we can win it anywhere else.
The renewed campaign by the DENR will run parallel to anti-smoke belching campaigns being embarked by local government units especially those actively running after smoke-belching vehicles passing through their jurisdictions like Makati City which maintains five ASBUs, Pasig City (4), Quezon City (2), Muntilupa (2), and Manila (1).