Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Clean Air in Makati City, Philippines

Makati City, the premier business district of the Philippines recently announced improved ambient air conditions over the city. Unfortunately, if the efforts to reduce air pollution will only be done individually, in this case, one city out of 15 and 2 municipalities comprising Metropolitan Manila, such efforts will not make any significant inroads in improving Manila's ambient air conditions. A collective effort is needed. The restrictions imposed in the use of cars by private individuals help. In addition, the anti-smoke belching ordinance will need to be consistently and strictly enforced. There may be other measures that need to be taken collectively by authorities to ensure that the air we breathe in the city will not bring further harm to those who live here.

Makati is just one component city of Metropolitan Manila. When the wind blows, the air and pollution spreads. Below shows the smog that envelops the Makati Central Business District (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4CcKFncMGQ). Numbers may show improvement in air conditions but what we see is still smog that hinders a clear view of the impressive Makati Skyline.

In contrast, immediately after rainshowers or later in the day, the skyline is clear (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogYB7nxHlwo). Wish we can always have this condition. It will be good for the Philippines to strive to address pollution problems but we must always consider things before we set about making laws to address this problem. We should balance things that would address our development needs and at the same time address social and environmental issues.

A developed country can readily afford to implement first class solutions to these pressing concerns. Taking baby steps in addressing the issues is a way forward. Enforcement of laws and ordinances consistently and strictly needs collective will. The Philippines is not there yet but hopefully it will.

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