The air quality in the Davao Region is still “good to fair” despite the presence of haze for more than a week now.
Department of Health 11 senior health program officer Gloria Raut said that based on the latest air quality reading provided to them by the Environmental Management Board of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Davao air is still within the 0-54 and 55-154 micrograms per cubic meter range which means that the air quality is still “good to fair” or “healthy”.
GLORIA RAUT, Department of Health 11 senior health program office
Raut said that once it reaches 155 and more, then then the air quality becomes dangerous especially to those who have respiratory problems.
For now, she said, people can still do their usual normal activities in the open air. Raut said that the concern as of now is the haze’s effect on the airline industry which would usually affect the vision of the pilots landing their planes.
Asked what preventive measures they could recommend to the public, Raut said that it’s best to limit any outdoor activities and to wear the appropriate mask, in this case a N95 mask, that would filter out contaminants in the air.
It was learned that haze may contain air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter that can cause diseases.
GLORIA RAUT, Department of Health 11 senior health program
But aside from the airline industry, expected to be affected as well is the agricultural industry.
Maria FebeOrbe, Department of Agriculture (DA) Davao assistant regional director, said that according to studies haze can adversely affect the plants’ growth including agricultural crops.She said that considering that haze is a pollutant made of dust, soot, ash which can settle on plant leaves, its deposits will interfere the photosynthetic activity of the plant due to reduction of sunlight’s penetration to the crop”.
Add to that, she said, there are perceptions that haze can suppress rainfall.
“Due to the presence of aerosols which result to more clouds containing smaller droplets and are less likely to release rain,” she explained.
With this, Orbe feared that crops needing water to yield optimally will suffer reduction of production levels.
The agriculture department said that the crop that is most likely to be affected is rice especially those planted in non-irrigated lands.
For now, the Department of Agriculture could however not gauge as to whether there is a concrete damage to crops due to haze as early as now.
They are however considering the possibility of decrease in production levels. Orbe said they are already gearing up if such happens.
The Pagasa is uncertain as to when the haze will clear out in the region and the rest of the country but they assured that it will disappear soon.