Can you feel fresher air in Metro Manila?
Well, that could be because pollution in the country's capital region has been dropping since the start of the year, the Environment department claimed in a statement.
"We are happy to note that there has been a marked and steady decrease in the levels of both TSP and PM10 for the first three quarters of 2012," Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said.
Related story: Vertical gardens rise along EDSA
Total suspended particulates (TSP), or the amount of solid pollutants such as dust and soot in the air, decreased by 21 percent to 106µg/Ncm at the end of the third quarter, Paje said.
The more harmful PM10, meanwhile, which refers to particulate matter 10 microns in diameter or smaller which can penetrate the lungs when inhaled, dropped by 18 percent to 77µg/Ncm by the end of September.
"This is definitely indicative of the successful collaboration with our partners in the government and private sectors..." Paje said
He particularly cited the Department of Transportation and Communications, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, local government units, Philippine Medical Association and the media.
Strengthened monitoring and law enforcement as well as an intensified information drive also contributed greatly to Metro Manila's improved air quality, Paje noted.
Also read: Trash-to-cash: DENR urges students to get rewards for garbage
This, even as he bared efforts to further bring down the level Metro Manila air pollution.
These include the formation of composite anti-smoke belching in all cities and municipalities in the region, manned by DENR and local government representatives.
The Environment chief meanwhile urged greater public participation in the government's air improvement program by having their vehicles regularly checked up and emissions tested.
Filipinos may also plant trees and other plants in their homes or gardens to help in the absorption of gases such as carbon monoxide, Paje noted.
The Philippines is seeking a "stronger commitment" from the United States to help its ally, the defence minister said on Monday, as China asserts its sovereignty over disputed areas of the South China Sea. China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year, and the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims. China said on Monday it had lodged a complaint with the United States over a U.S. spy plane that flew …