The air pollution in Manila is 70% (with an annual average of 17 µg/m3 of PM2.5 particles) over the safe level according to a data by The World Health Organization. The air in the Philippines has an annual average of 22 µg/3m of PM2.5 particles which is 2.2 times over the WHO safe level. These data reveal poor condition of breathable air in the country. This accounts to 28, 696 deaths from air pollution-related diseases in the Philippines each year.
The leading illness caused by air pollution in the Philippines is Ischemic Heart Disease and 1666 children die of air pollution-related diseases every year. The alarming data was released by the WHO in connection to its newest campaign called BreatheLife.
BreatheLife is a global campaign headed by the WHO, UN Environment and the Climate & Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) mobilizing major and minor cities with the help of the people around the world to protect our planet from the effects of air pollution and reduce the increasing number of air pollution-related deaths and diseases around the world.
The campaign aims to provide environmental awareness in every city by letting cities formulate key solutions to combat air pollution and meet the WHO air quality targets by 2030. Metro Manila is one of the major target cities participating in this campaign mainly because of the highly-condensed traffic condition on the roads and huge number of commercial establishments.
A report from the Department of Health earlier this year cited that air pollution in Metro Manila has exceeded beyond tolerable level. According to DOH, two things contribute to the pollution in the metro: first is the exhaust from motor vehicles, and second is exhaust emitted from commercial factories and establishments.
As part of the global campaign, the WHO highlights three solutions that are proven to work designed for cities like Metro Manila to combat the rising figures on devolving health status of the people associated with poor breathable air. These are:
- City-Wide Solutions — focusing on transportation, solution for waste management, household air and pollution, solutions for energy supply, solutions for industry, and solutions for food and agriculture
- Action for Individuals – such as minimizing exposure to stay healthy and reducing your contribution to the air pollution
- Health Sector Leadership – contributes through proper education and advocacy, providing sustainable facilities, and service delivery with indispensable resources
The WHO believes that through these key solutions, major and minor cities could benefit greatly and help reduce the rising number of the silent killer. The WHO continues to work with the DOH, DENR and the local government in pursuit to achieve its goals.