I usually take the Skyway along the South Luzon Expressway when I am in a hurry to get to the office or an important appointment. The more expensive toll aside, I always enjoy seeing the Makati skyline, to see which building or structure dominates it.
The past few days, however, I’ve been seeing a different skyline. I notice that the buildings aren’t as clearly seen. And at 9 a.m. today, I took this picture, because I couldn’t help but take notice. Initially I thought it was fog, but given that warm temperature and the time of day, I realize that I was already straring at fog — or at air pollution itself. An uncle of mine would definitely describe it as apocalyptic.
Is it now that bad?
We’ve heard of many studies and reports on the state of our environment and our air quality. If I remember right, a survey says we are in the top 10 cities in the world with the worst air pollution. There is also another study that says Manila would already be inhabitable by 2011 because of the air pollution. That’s just three years from now!
So one again could not help but wonder about what the Department of Natural Resources is doing. If there is one thing this administration is so notorious about, it does not have a clear vision and masterplan for the environment. It’s not given enough priority. And aside from the picture above, let’s include as part of the proof the many approved construction projects in protected areas.
The country has had emission testing for vehicles, but obviously this is not enough. Two-stroke tricycles, which are a major blame for the situation, continue to take the streets. And of course, let’s not forget industrial facilities that do not comply with government policies.
Of the 1-trillion peso plus national budget for 2008, only six billion pesos is allocated for the national operations of the DENR. Government response simply is inadequate.
The World Bank has warned that air pollution would cost the government about $1.5 million for health care expenses — not to mention a decrease in labor productivity. The WB also reports of 2,000 premature deaths and 9,000 cases of bronchitis because of the pollution.
So… PAGING, DENR. Paging the national government! Action is needed on this. And not just rhetorics on global warming, because it happens to be the “in” topic nowadays.