Signed on 23 June 1999 by former President Joseph Estrada, Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act seeks to promote and protect the citizens’ right to breathe clean air.
The landmark law seeks to curb pollutants from both mobile and stationary sources such as motor vehicles, cigarette smoking, garbage disposal facilities, farms, industrial plants, power installations, cement factories, and other sources that emit pollutants.
“Poor air quality, both indoor and outdoor, is bad to health. There are a number of practical actions that we can take to reduce emissions and make our air cleaner and safer,” actor Roy Alvarez of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Steering Committee said.
“We invite all caring citizens to consider these clean air tips and truly make a difference,” he added.
The EcoWaste Coalition’s clean air tips include the following:
1. Do not dump nor burn your trash. Reduce your waste size by consuming responsibly and recycling more.
2. Compost – burn not – grass trimmings, fallen leaves, rice straws and other biodegradable discards from the garden, kitchen or farm.
3. Grow and nurture plants and trees to improve the quality of air around us.
4. Quit smoking to prevent tobacco smoke, a known human carcinogen, from harming your lungs and the health of those near you.
5. Walk, bike or carpool whenever possible, ride the emission-free “padyak” or take the public transport to get to your destination.
6. Think of car-sharing before buying a vehicle. When you must buy one, look for reduced-emission vehicle.
7. Travel less by planning ahead, linking all of your errands into a single trip, and patronizing businesses near you to cut down on driving time, cut emissions and boost the local economy.
8. Opt for water-based paints to cut back the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are dispersed into the atmosphere and cause pollution.
9. Avoid consumer spray or aerosol products to cut VOC emissions, and pick more eco-friendly substitutes like gels, sticks and solids.
10. When you must drive, drive smoothly and properly, and get your car serviced regularly.
The EcoWaste Coalition is alarmed by the high quantities of TSP, particularly in Metro Manila, as reported in a 2008 profile prepared by the Population Reference Bureau on population, health and environment issues.
TSP or total suspended particulate matters are tiny airborne particles or aerosols from human or natural sources that enter and pollute the atmosphere.
In Metro Manila and other highly-urbanized places, smoke-belching vehicles, open burning of trash and the uncontrolled releases from industries are top sources of particulate emissions which can lead to ill health or death.
The children, the elderly and those suffering from heart and respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema are most susceptible to the adverse effects of TSP exposure.
A World Bank report released in 2007 shows that nearly 5,000 people in Metro Manila die each year due to respiratory and cardiovascular ailments from chronic exposure to air pollutants.