By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
Air quality in Quezon City has been improving as people stay home during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon, according to an expert from the University of the Philippines Diliman (UP Diliman).
The air quality index recorded by airtoday.ph monitoring stations in Quezon City found that air pollution was down by as much as 180 percent since the enhanced community quarantine was imposed in Metro Manila last March 16, UP Diliman College of Science’s Environmental Pollution Studies Laboratory head Dr. Mylene Cayetano said.
An indicator of air pollution is the particulate matter or PM 2.5, a minute airborne dust that can penetrate the lungs, can cause shortness of breath, and may aggravate pre-existing respiratory conditions.
The monitoring station located at the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) compound has shown “decreasing” trends of PM 2.5, Cayetano said.
Comparing the levels of PM 2.5 pre- and while on community quarantine, the greatest improvement occurred during the window hours when the atmospheric ventilation is low, in the evening and early morning, by a reduction of 80 to 180 percent from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. at the LCP compound, she pointed out.
The same trend was observed in another airtoday.ph
monitoring station along EDSA-Muñoz at 70 to 90 percent reduction in PM 2.5 since the start of the enhanced community quarantine, she said.
“On ordinary Thursdays, the PM 2.5 would peak to 38 micrograms per cubic meter during evening rush hours, which can be unhealthy to sensitive groups,” Cayetano, who also serves as technical adviser of airtoday.ph, said.
The improving air quality in the hospital zone is attributed to the 500-meter quarantine radius
that was being carried out around the government-run hospitals in Quezon City, namely Philippine Heart Center, East Avenue Medical Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, and the Philippine Lung Center.
The area from East Avenue to BIR Road and Elliptical Road had been closed since March 18.
“Majority of the air pollution comes from vehicle emissions. Cordoning off East Avenue and Quezon Avenue, both hospital zones, brings positive feedback of cleaning the air,” Cayetano said.
“The COVID-19 patients and the rest of the patients presenting in these Quezon City hospital-zone have either obstructive or restrictive breathing, thus, are in much need of clean air,” she added.