Is your city among those with the cleanest air? Or are you living in the most polluted cities?
In recent times, certain Asian areas have demonstrated strong relations between economic development and increased air pollution, says a report published by Greenpeace. It generated attention that made the pollution problem so pressing, prompting “extensive monitoring networks and air pollution reduction policies.”
In yet another report published by Switzerland-based IQ AirVisual and Greenpeace, the Philippines, which ranked 24th in the world’s most polluted index, also has the cities with the cleanest air.
Compared with Southeast Asian cities from 73 countries, 11 of the top 15 cities with the cleanest air are in the Philippines, with Calamba in Laguna taking the top spot.
This came about after measuring the amount of fine particulate matter known as PM2.5 (µg/m³), which refers to all solid and liquid airborne particles that measures up to 2.5 microns in size. Most of these particulate matters can result in a wide range of short and long term health effects. PM2.5 commonly results from combustion and is also found in other pollutants reacting in the atmosphere.
The report, which placed Calamba as the cleanest city in Southeast Asia, stated the air has about 9.3 µg/m³ of PM2.5. This is well within the annual mean exposure threshold of the World Health Organization (WHO) which is 10 µg/m³.
Valenzuela City (9.9 µg/m³) and Carmona City (10.9 µg/m³) ranked second and third, respectively.
Other Philippine cities on the list were Parañaque (12.2 µg/m³), Davao (12.2 µg/m³), Makati (13.7 µg/m³), Manila (14.3 µg/m³), Mandaluyong (14.5 µg/m³), Balanga (16.1 µg/m³), Quezon (17.5 µg/m³) and Las Piñas City (17.9 µg/m³).
As a country, the Philippines ranked 48th on the list with a “moderate” amount of PM2.5. Its average of 14.6 µg/m³ fared better than its Southeast Asian neighbors such as Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Bangladesh was the most polluted country last year (97.1 µg/m³ ), while Iceland was the cleanest (5 µg/m³).
The nation’s capital, Manila, ranked 42nd with a moderate 14.3 µg/m³ of PM2.5. New Delhi in India (113.5 µg/m³) topped the list of the most polluted air in 2018, while Wellington in New Zealand (6 µg/m³) was the cleanest.
Meanwhile, Jakarta (45.3 µg/m³) and Hanoi (40.8 µg/m³) had the highest recorded air pollution in the Southeast Asia region.
Philippines’ Meycauyan (32.4 µg/m³) and Caloocan (31.4 µg/m³) were also included on the list of most polluted cities.
According to Yeb Sano, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, “Air pollution steals our livelihoods and our futures.” He also said that in addition to human lives, there’s an estimated global loss of 225 billion dollars in labor and trillions in medical costs.
“This has enormous impacts, on our health and on our wallets,” Sano added.
The report also clarified that it is necessary to have a “cornerstone in generating public awareness and driving action to combat air pollution in the long-term.”
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