The air quality reading in Davao Region has remarkably improved over the weekend after two days of consecutive rains which lasted for almost an hour each.
The Environmental Management Bureau’s Air Quality Management Section said that the particulate matter reading last Sunday was less than 10 micrometer while the microgram per cubic meter registered at 43.
This is an improvement from the previous reading of 65-93 microgram per cubic meter from October 17-24. Health authorities said that once it reaches 155 and more, then then the air quality becomes dangerous especially to those who have respiratory problems.
The EMB said that the air quality has improved from fair to good. The agency credited the improvement to the northerly wind and the heavy downpour during the weekend.
Asked how long they expect the haze to stay in the country, the EMB said that it will totally depend on the source of the haze. The haze is believed to have come from the Indonesia fires.
For now, health authorities said, people can still do their usual normal activities in the open air.
Those who have respiratory ailments are however advised 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.
Climbers wanting to scale the highest peak in the country, Mt. Apo, will be limited to only 1,000 this summer as the area is experiencing dry season and the threat of forest fire is high.
The Mt. Apo Natural Park Protected Management Board passed the resolution last week as a precautionary measure to protect the country’s highest peak.
The board, composed of officials from the towns, cities, and provinces surrounding Mt. Apo, have also agreed to implement a common set of trekking policies designed to “be consistent with the principles of biological diversity and sustainable development.”
Aside from a strict prohibition on smoking, the climbers will also be asked to bring their own garbage on their way down from Mt. Apo.
Kidapawan City Tourism Officer Joey Recemilla said the board fears a repeat of the forest fires that hit and damaged a large part of Mt. Apo in 1997 and 2003 thus the decision.
Recimilla said walk-in climbers will no longer be accommodated.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources 11 Park Operations Superintendent Edward Ragaza said the status of the Kapatagan trail of Mt. Apo was also assessed last week.
He said the grasses and trees in many parts of the mountain have turned from green to brown. The report, Ragaza said, showed that there are water sources that might eventually dry up if the dry spell continue.
Jhune Bacus, chairperson of the Mountaineering Federation of Southern Mindanao (MFSM), meanwhile welcomed the news.
He said that there really is a need to regulate the number of climbers this summer. He also appealed to those who will be allowed to go to Mt. Apo to be responsible.
The effect of haze brought about by Indonesian fires here in the Davao Region has somehow improved after a heavy downpour Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, it was not enough to totally eradicate haze throughout the region.
After Sunday’s rain, the haze somehow thinned down and patches of blue sky can already be seen.
On Saturday, a heavy downpour also happened in Tagum City where the 16th national jamboree of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines is currently being held with about 20,000 scouts from all over the country attending.
The heavy downpour also caused mudding in the camping area. The two consecutive days of heavy rain which lasted for less than an hour each, has contributed to the improvement of the effects of haze in the region.
Last Friday, health authorities said that the air quality in the Davao Region is still “good to fair” despite the presence of haze for weeks 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”.
There is still no health warning issued until now by the DOH 11. Those with respiratory problems and those who would not take chances are however advised to wear the prescribed N95 masks which are the same mask prescribed during the Sars-scare.
Upon checking at the weather this morning, we saw vast grey skies with still some patches of blue in the horizon.