GENERAL SANTOS CITY—The Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in Soccsksargen has cautioned residents over last weekend about the possible spread of “unhealthy smog” in the area due to the raging forest fires in Indonesia.
In an advisory, EMB-Soccsksargen said the intense forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan in recent weeks could cause “high levels of air pollution” to be blown toward the southern part of the country, including Soccsksargen, in the coming days.
EMB-Soccsksargen said it has been conducting daily air quality monitoring in at least three sites as an initial intervention. The monitoring stations are in this city, Koronadal City and Tupi town in South Cotabato.
EMB-Soccsksargen noted last week that the air concentration in the three sites remain under normal levels, and considered as “still in good and fair condition.”
“[The air quality level] does not pose an [adverse] impact to human health,” the agency declared.
With the result, it advised the general public to maintain normal activities.
“As for healthy precautions, sensitive individuals especially children, elderly, pregnant women and those with heart and lung conditions, are advised to reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor activities,” it said.
Engr. Alex Jimenez, EMB-Soccsksargen director, assured residents that it would continue the daily monitoring of the air quality level in the area as part of their mandate.
“We will make this information available to the public as soon as we get them,” Jimenez said.
Based on EMB-Soccsksargen’s monitoring, the particulate matter (PM10) in the air as of Saturday in Koronadal City was at 63.81 micrograms per normal cubic meter (ug/Ncm) or under the “fair” level.
PM10 particles, often described as coarse particles, are smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter. The international standard for PM10 is 60 ug/Ncm.
It was measured at 37.28 ug/Ncm in Tupi and 45.26 ug/Ncm in this city or under “good” level.
Image credits: Laily Rachev, Indonesian Presidential Secretariat via AP